Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Google Cr-48 Chrome Netbook

Google Cr-48 Chrome NetbookJust because the official release of the cloud-based Chrome OS is still months away, it hasn't stopped Google from launching a massive pilot program. This program offers specially-chosen end users, Google employees and journalists, their own prototype Chrome netbook known as the Cr-48. The sad thing is that these 12.1-inch laptops will never be sold commercially, but they do offer an extremely detailed preview of what can be expected from the very first Chrome systems that will be launched mid-2011.

The Cr-48's are not nor will they ever be available to consumers, so it is safe to say that the current design and hardware will more than likely not be exactly the same. On the other hand, there are several interesting things about these test products that may inspire things in the final product.

The Cr-48 is very similar in design to the MacBook. The chassis is rounded and shaped like one of the plastic MacBooks from the last generation and both devices have roughly the same keyboard size, shape and layout. Heck, even the hinges are similar. The chassis is made of a soft, black rubberized material which makes it comfortable to lay your wrists on it. The size is also very convenient coming in at 11.8 x 8.6 x 0.9 inches which makes it easy to fit in a carrying case or on your lap. However, the weight seems a bit heavy for the size ration as this device comes in weighing around 3.8 pounds.

The isolated layout of the keyboard offers you good feedback and key placement which makes typing extremely simple, but users will notice that the keyboard is void of any function keys. Instead, the Cr-48 has dedicated keys for forward, back, refresh, full screen mode, change windows, increase brightness, decrease brightness, mute, increase audio, decrease audio and power on/off. The caps lock key has also been replaced by a search button due to the fact that Google says they wish to "discourage all-caps typing."

The keyboard also has a bunch of shortcuts that you would typically see on the Windows version of Chrome. These shortcuts include things like CTRL + H for your browser history, CTRL + W to close a tab and CTRL +/- for zoom in and out. If you want to see a full list of these commands, all you have to do is hit CTRL + ALT + ?. You won't find any buttons on the touch pad. However, like a majority of netbooks on today's market, the touch pad itself is, in fact, a button. Many people do not like clicky touch pads, especially if they like to scroll with one finger and click with another.

The Cr-48 has a 12.1-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800. This, as many of you probably already know, is extremely rare on netbooks but is a more than welcome addition. It allows plenty of vertical screen space for easy viewing of web pages and the matte surface of the screen allows the Cr-48 to provide very strong viewing angles to the left and the right.

The Cr-48 doesn't have a lot of ports on it unlike other devices. The right side of the netbook has an SD card reader as well as an audio jack and USB port. The left side includes a VGA port. Storage devices and memory cards work for uploading files to the cloud but do little else. The USB port also supports wired and wireless mouses.

If Google isn't trustworthy, then I don't know who is because, true to their word, the initial setup of the Cr-48 takes only a minute. After powering on the device for the very first time, you are prompted to configure your internet connection by selecting a Wi-Fi network. After this, you are asked to agree to the Google EULA and then to login with a Google account. Then you are given the option to take a personal picture with the integrated webcam which will, if you desire, accompany your login.

The one problem many people are reporting with the login is that the device does not recognize any login that is not followed by Even if you use any number of accounts that are registered with Google, the Cr-48 will not recognize them. So, if you do not have a valid Gmail account, then you have hit a dead end in the login prompt because creating one during setup is impossible. If this happens, then you may need to log on to another computer that is not a Chrome-OS device and create a Gmail account ending in

Google is definitely trying to shake things up in the netbook market with this device. A netbook designed completely around Chrome is a bold attempt, but if any company can do it, I'd put my money on Google. I mean, it is only a matter of time before they take over the world.
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GamerSyndrome said...

You are right. Storage devices and memory cards work for uploading files to the cloud but do little else.

Kevin Blumer said...

Google Chrome netbook Now that would have to be must. I wonder if its running on android operating system. I was thinking of trying android on a desktop see f could get it to run. I would so love to play with that toy.