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Google outs Cr-48 Chrome OS netbook; most pushed to mid-2011

updated 03:25 pm EST, Tue December 7, 2010

Google intros test Chrome OS netbook, Verizon 3G

Google at its Chrome event today unveiled Cr-48, a testbed netbook for Chrome OS. The 12-inch system is designed for early adopters willing to use Chrome OS in its beta state. It comes completely unbranded and has design touches rare on other netbooks, including an Apple-style clickable trackpad and a full keyboard that omits some traditional keys, such as Caps Lock and function keys.

The device will also center on an optional 3G connection. A Qualcomm Gobi modem is built in on the Cr-48, and future Chrome OS notebooks, to get on to Verizon's 3G network. It will include 100MB of "free" data for two years and will have an iPad-style plan system that will let users start or stop access whenever they want, without contracts.

Hacking is encouraged, Google said. Although Chrome OS is locked down, a switch under the battery will stop the usual verified boot and let users modify the install to their own aims.

Inside, the system is Intel-based with an Atom processor and has 802.11n Wi-Fi and a webcam. Its battery will last for about eight hours of active use and eight days on standby. Storage hasn't been detailed but should be a small SSD to keep in step with Google's quick boot, instant-resume goals.

The Cr-48 will only be available both within Google and to those who sign up for a Chrome OS Pilot Program (above). Electronista and others who attended the Chrome event today will get a model, but users either have to qualify through the submission form, through an earlier survey, or through submitting a video response to a competition on saying why they deserve a unit.

As part of the news, however, Google revealed that its plans had been set back for a commercial launch. It admitted that some features, such as Cloud Print and USB storage, were in beta or otherwise unfinished. There was "some time left to go," it said. Acer and Samsung had committed to launching Chrome OS systems but now won't ship them until mid-2011, or almost a year later than planned. ARM also would have to wait for future development, but the platform isn't locked to x86.

The goals set back competition with Apple and Microsoft. Windows had already been in the same space through netbooks, but Apple is already preempting the the ultra-lightweight, web-focused category with the iPad and more recently the 11-inch MacBook Air. Google is hoping that the web will give Chrome OS an edge by reducing the requirements and providing continuous updates and tighter security than conventional PCs.


By Electronista Staff
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  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007



    Also check out the data plans/pricing they announced with Verizon.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005



    The Cr-48 will only be available both within Google and to those who sign up for a Chrome OS Pilot Program.

    Everyone who wants - but can't afford - a netbook ... apply today!!!

  1. legacyb4

    Mac Elite

    Joined: May 2001


    Omitting a Caps Lock key

    just to be different?

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Does this Chrome OS require a constant

    broadband connection to work or does it also function off-line? I thought the Joo-Joo tablet failed because it basically needed a network connection to do anything. I might be wrong, but I thought that's what was required since it didn't have much memory. Except for Chrome running everything that's Google, is this OS any more exceptional than any other smartphone mobile OS or is it more heavy duty? I need to do more research on this Chrome stuff, because I clearly don't understand its advantages that's exciting everyone. It's seems nice enough, but are businesses going to jump to using this. I think it could be good for consumers with broadband, though. Certainly less complicated than Windows and it's supposed to run very quickly.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Caps Lock

    I've often wondered why there was a dedicated key for caps lock rather than just keeping the caps key held down until lock is activated and do the reverse to de-activate. I'm relieved to know that it wasn't just me! :-)

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Gosh, how utterly familiar.

    A Black MacBook with iOS screens.
    The sincerest form of flattery...

  1. Cronocide

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010


    (First Picture)

    Everybody say "Nerd!"

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002




  1. Rezzz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006



    Let's start listing all the apps this thing won't run. Isn't that how Microsoft poo-poo'ed the Mac OS for 15 years?

    Oh wait.. To the Cloud!!


    Well, that covers about 0.0004% of what's out there. Phew! I was worried for a minute.

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