Tuesday morning, Google announced its new cloud-based operating system (Chrome), and with it, the first Chrome OS-based laptop.
Google’s Cr-48 netbook is definitely a no-frills, pure Google device, but it’s beautiful in its own right (even if it’s not a mass-market product). The “Cr-48” refers to an isotope of the material chromium, there’s no logo and no design frills on the laptop itself, and it only comes in black. With Chrome OS on board, the Cr-48 is the most up-to-date, Google cloud-based experience one can have.
The specs include:
- 12.1-inch screen.
- Full size keyboard.
- Oversized clickpad.
- Qualcomm Gobi 3G chip for Verizon data in the US, your carrier of choice internationally.
- 802.11n dual-band WiFi.
- 8+ hours of active use.
- 8+ days of standby.
- Flash storage.
To get around the connectivity problem inherent to web-based apps, Google says every Chrome OS laptop will ship with both Wi-Fi and cellular connections. The company has partnered with Verizon (which could be way Google lets Verizon install software like Bing on its Android smartphones) — when you buy a Chrome OS laptop, you get 100 MB of free data per month for two years. There are no long-term contracts. If you want to upgrade, you only pay for what you need. Chrome OS users can buy a day pass from Verizon, or choose from a few long-term plans starting at $10 a month.
The Cr-48, while cloud-based, is also centered around the application experience (similar to Apple’s iOS). Many of the apps are free or available under a freemium model. Some of them, like games, cost $2 or $3 each. You buy apps from the Chrome Web Store using Google Checkout, so you need to have a Google account to buy apps. In fact, having a Google account should probably be a preliminary requirement if you’re considering applying for a Cr-48.
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