In my previous post titled “Google Chromebook has Arrived” I described the Google Chromebook which should debut to the public on June 15, 2011.
I’ve heard stories from a select few that Google shipped out a prototype pilot program for the Google Chromebook named Cr-48 as far back as December 2010. I wasn’t holding my breath to be selected for the pilot program but I can’t say I hadn’t secretly hoped that I would have a magical box appear at my doorstep.
Well, it took a little over 5 months but my “magical” box arrived! The saying goes “Better late than never” and I can’t agree more!
The Google Cr-48 prototype is very impressive (especially given that it’s not a final release product).
The first thing that I noticed is the entire body is made of a rubber-like matte black plastic of some sort. It feels solid and smooth. The screen hinges back and is held with a magnetic latch which is very Mac-esque. The Cr-48 is less than 1″ in thickness and is 3.6 pounds with a 12.1″ 1280×800 matte screen. There’s a VGA video out, a single USB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an SD card slot.
I love the keyboard layout. Gone with the CAPS lock and in its place is a button which opens up a new tab and shows you your installed apps. All of the function keys above the numbers row have been replaced with usable buttons like Back, Forward, Reload, Full Screen, Switch Window, Brightness Up and Down, Mute, and Volume Up and Down.
I pressed the power button and a Google Chrome logo appears. Sooo nice! A few seconds later up comes the simplistic, yet artistic, introduction to the Google Chrome OS. After going through the very informative and helpful hints, I am prompted with a Google Account login prompt. I enter my google account and BAMN I’m in the OS and all of my bookmarks appear (because I sync my bookmarks using Google Chrome).
As I had mentioned in my previous post, the Google Chrome OS is basically the Google Chrome web browser with added items to give you the rest of your OS features (ie. clock, battery strength indicator, Wi-Fi network items, etc.).
One big surprise was that the Cr-48 pilot program users are given 100MB of data usage using the Verizon Wireless 3G network for two years! I attempted to sign up for my account but encountered an error and it stated to retry again later. Hopefully this pans out and I can get it setup for further testing!
The second big surprise was that there is a file system with local storage. You can download files and it is stored locally for use in a different app.
The performance of the Cr-48 is not stellar and I noticed some sluggishness while opening up my Google Apps email as well as any websites that require more processing power.
All-in-all I am VERY excited to have been chosen as a part of the Cr-48 pilot program. Google, I thank you!