Google's CR-48 Notebook
It has arrived, sort of. The CR-48 is Google's first notebook computer - sleek, black and unbranded. It's only available through a Google pilot program (which you can apply for). What's exciting about this laptop is that it is the first to officially run Google's Chrome OS, a Web-centric operating system designed with the Internet in mind. Let's take a quick walkthrough of the CR-48's specs and features.
Designed With Beta In Mind
Google designed the CR-48 as a test notebook for its Chrome OS pilot program, and it's the first of its kind. The laptop is meant to be light and portable, doesn't have any design frills (or even a logo), and it only comes in black. For trivia fans, the CR-48 name refers to an isotope of the chromium material, which also lends the name to Chrome OS, the operating system on the laptop.
The CR-48 has a 12.1-inch screen, with a webcam sitting at the top of the display bezel. The laptop also has a full-size chiclet keyboard (with a search key instead of Caps Lock), and an oversized clickpad (no visible buttons, you press down the trackpad to click). The CR-48 weighs 3.8 pounds, and the design, including the keyboard and trackpad, is reminiscent of the now-defunct black Apple MacBook.
Battery And Connectivity
Google claims the battery can last up to 8 hours under typical usage patterns, or up to 8 days on standby. The CR-48 can use Wi-Fi to go online, and it also has a 3G chip. With the 3G chip, U.S. pilot users will get 100MB of data free, and then pay $9.99 for daily access. International users will be able to use their carrier of choice (via 3G GSM chips).
The CR-48 runs on an Intel Atom Processor, and since Chrome OS does not use up local storage, the laptop has only an undisclosed amount of flash storage. This, Google claims, will make the CR-48 run very fast, with boot times of under 10 seconds, and nearly instantaneous wake up from standby.
Ports And Connections
The CR-48 is also very light in the ports category, similar to Apple's MacBook Air. On the left, there is a mini VGA video out connector and fan grills; on the right, a USB port, charging port, a standard audio jack and the SIM card tray. Google left out the optical disk drive.
Other Chrome OS Laptops Soon
This is the box that winners of the Google CR-48 pilot program lottery will receive their free laptop in. Google initially wanted the first Chrome OS laptops to arrive in late 2010, but now says that Acer and Samsung will ship the first widely-available Chrome laptops in mid-2011.
Inside Chrome OS
Google also unveiled a few more details about its upcoming Chrome OS, giving a sense of how this cloud-based operating system will work. This includes wireless printing, profile sharing for multiple users and security features. Click on to see what's new with Chrome OS.