Reports are in for the new Google Chrome OS Cr-48 netbook, the first notebook to feature Google’s Chrome browser as an OS. This limited release computer is a cloud based netbook that runs the Chrome browser and is designed exclusively for online use. Is this the future of mobile computing, or just a clever marketing exercise by Google?
The Chrome OS Cr-48 netbook is fairly unexciting on initial inspection, comprising of a 12.1 inch screen, an Atom processor, minimal ports, and a rubberized plastic chassis. The chassis looks good and doesn’t show any fingerprints however, although the build is quite heavy for a netbook at 3.8 pounds.
In terms of connectivity, this computer certainly isn’t going to win any prizes. You get a single USB, VGA, an SD card slot, and a headphone jack – yes, that’s it. The 12.1 inch display features a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution and a matte finish, and people seem happy enough with the colours and contrast on offer.
However, there seem to be a number of problems with this netbook, and in many ways it looks like an incomplete piece of technology. For example, the screen flickers when the brightness is changed, the heat it generates is worrying for such a resource-light OS, and the fan is noticeable even under light conditions.
The keyboard looks a lot like a Mac design, with island-style keys and a fairly similar layout as well. However, the function row has been replaced with dedicated buttons for Back, Forward, Full Screen, Next Tab, Screen Brightness, and Volume – all of which will come in very handy on a dedicated Internet computer.
The system has been reported to boot in 14 seconds, which is very fast indeed, and also comes out of hibernation practically instantly. A WiFi connection prompt comes on as soon as you boot up, along with a Google account login which takes another 10 or so seconds.
The reason it is so quick is simple – the entire desktop is nothing more than the Chrome browser. A list of downloaded Apps and most visited websites comes up when you open a new browser tab, a process that is seamless and will no doubt get you where you want to go quickly.
Overall, the Chrome OS Cr-48 netbook seems to be a cool computer, but it also seems a little incomplete. This computer was never intended to be a mass production model however, but the first example of a new cloud-based OS paradigm that we are likely to see more and more over the next few years.