With 60,000 free notebooks up for grabs, it seems reasonable to assume that anyone who requested entry into Google’s Cr-48 pilot program on day one of submissions would snag their own unbranded, soft touch black beauty. But I was still pretty thrilled to have one dropped at my door this morning, not having mentioned anything about DroidDog in my application.
I’ve been using the Chrome browser for some time and have sampled Chrome OS (which is essentially the Chrome browser on top of Linux), via VirtualBox and Parallels. You too can throw together a Chrome OS installation, and it’s especially easy for PC users. Just create a USB boot drive as per Hexxeh’s instructions. The thumb drive route is a bit tricky for Mac users.
Because I’m familiar with Chrome and Chrome OS, the transition from my MacBook Pro to Cr-48 is more about my adjusting to the much smaller screen and keyboard, as well as the plastic trackpad, than to Google’s software. But I don’t want to get too hung up on Inventec’s hardware because that’s not what the Cr-48 is all about. Chrome OS is the star of the show here. And since shooting the unboxing and setup video below, I’ve been getting real cozy with the operating system.
It’s difficult to completely ignore the quirky trackpad and man, have I become reliant on backlit keyboards…but the experience is nice. I’m enjoying a lot of the options I’ve found in the Chrome Web Store, and with Gmail delegation in effect, I’m really not missing local apps. I’ve had all of my bookmarks and extensions synced from my Mac, though certain extensions wouldn’t work without associated plugins, which can’t be installed (at least not automatically by the requiring extension) in Chrome OS.
Right now, I’m feeling like I could live with this computer, especially on the road. In the house, I’ve got other options but the Cr-48 makes a much better companion in bed and other less-than-ideal computing environments than something larger and far more expensive. These are very early impressions and I’ve got a lot of hours ahead of me on the road to a final conclusion. I’ll reserve judgement for now on the opinions I’ve read about the convergence of Android and Chrome and whether or not true cloud computing is a good thing. For now, let’s just take the Google Cr-48‘ for a quick spin.