By >Akihabara News Team
Google unveils the new Cr-48, laptop for testing Chrome OS
Google has gone and stuck its finger in many pies over the past few years, with remarkable success. From web search, to mail, apps and cloud computing, TV, Chrome, and Android, Google is now poised to release Chrome OS. Chrome PCs won’t be available until mid-2011, but there are some other interesting bits info that came along with the announcement. Read on.
The Cr-48 is a laptop designed for the last phases of Chrome OS testing. It has a 12.1-inch display, a full-size keyboard, oversized clickpad, global 3G, 8+ hours of active use, 8+ days in standby, webcam, SSD, and is supported by Intel Atom. That’s about it for specs, but don’t worry, despite its clean simple design, you can’t buy it, ever apparently.
Chrome OS is still in beta, so Google has launched a wide scale testing project of the new OS with the use of the first ever Chrome OS laptop. The sleek and simple laptop (I swear that if Muji ever made a PC, it would look like this) will be distributed for testing through Google’s Chrome OS Pilot Program. The program will start by using some businesses as guinea pigs, and some units will seek the help of the public for testing. As I mentioned, they are not for sale, but if you want to try one out, you can audition via YouTube (youtube.com/googlechrome). You can also register for the program here: http://www.google.com/chromeos/pilot-program.html. (only for US residents)
With any bugs hopefully exterminated, Chrome OS will be made available to the masses with releases of Chrome models by Acer and Samsung due out mid-2011. Google claims that they will not be marketing hardware. Chrome is designed to run on a variety of devices, including tablets, but Google hasn’t stipulated whether Chrome will take over as the standard for tablets, as opposed to Android.
The caps lock key has been replaced with a search key, which seems useful enough, and an all-around improvement for online computing and socializing, and apparently, there is a “jail-break” mode built right in. The OS currently supports all keyboards and mice, though storage devices are not yet supported, and the users will have to rely on Cloud Print for printing, avoiding the need to install drivers. Sounds like there is still work to do before we reach mid-2011.
Originally launched in 2008, The Chrome browser has seen a huge jump in users world-wide over the past two years, due largely to its super speed relative to other browsers. While the launch of the new OS (up next) and the carrot dangling of the Cr-48 took the spotlight, Chrome had some notable updates to show off.
The developers at Google actually made the omnibox (url box + search in one), while others talked about it, and they also invented Google Instant (the cool new feature that searches as you type). Well, now they have merged those two features, so you don’t need to visit the Google homepage in order to use Instant, and that feature only works in Chrome.
Aps Aps, whose got the Aps. You’ve gotta have apps. Google announced the Chrome Web Store. It is linked to your Google account and will be launched in the US in the new year, with the rest of the world to follow.
Chrome is getting faster and faster, in fact, its 100x faster than it was a year ago. Now there is a new enhancement to version 8 called Crankshaft that doubles the speed. Chrome also is updated automatically, and with Chrome Sync, well everything is synched for you; bookmarks, extensions, whatever.
The Chrome OS seems to really be about the web, which is where Google started, and it’s really where we do more and more of our computing anyways. A search key is built into the keyboard of the Cr-48, perhaps it will become a standard design on Chrome computers. This interface makes online searching even more user-friendly. While it is Google’s specialty just how integrated will the online experience be? Will there be much to discern between online and offline? Apparently there isn’t. In the world of Google, native apps and web apps are one and the same.
Chrome isn’t strictly tied to Google, ie you don’t need a Google account to use it, not that that is an issue for…anyone. In fact, more and more popular products have “Google Inside”, think Android, Google TV, so synchronization of these various media will surely be brought together in due time.
There’s an icon in the upper right hand corner that can instant cut your network connection in order to work offline on online easily. It is designed to be able to integrate with the Google network. Like the Chrome browser, the OS has automatic updates and sandboxing, but there’s also data encryption for each user of the machine.
And that’s that. Go fire up that web-cam and make your plea to Google to let you be a tester.