Chrome OS-based Cr-48 Netbooks Are Available
Google delayed the launch to improve the speed of the platform and add other tools and partners, he said. "Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware, but we didn't want to sell pre-beta computers," Pichai explained. However, Pichai said Google is inviting select users to test Chrome OS-based netbooks, dubbed Cr-48, in a pilot program. This will begin in the U.S. and expand to other countries, pending certifications.The device has a full-sized keyboard, a large, clickable touchpad, a Webcam for video chat, 8 hours of battery life and 8 hours of standby time. Setting up a machine is as simple as signing in to a Website with credentials, and Chrome users' apps, bookmarks and browser settings will instantly be ported to and synched with the machine. Cr-48 sports both integrated dual-band WiFi and a 3G modem, thanks to a partnership with its Verizon Communications. Thanks to the deal with Verizon, each machine will come with free data service of up to 100MB per month for two years. Consumers can add data, starting at $9.99 for daily passes, Pichai said. This service will be easy to activate. U.S. Department of Defense, American Airlines, Google TV partner Logitech and Google Apps partner Appirio are among those in the business partner program using Cr-48 for their employees. While Samsung and Acer are definitely on board for Chrome OS machines, Google said that more manufacturers will follow. Google also hinted that because Chrome OS is designed to work on various screen sizes and form factors, partners could build "computing devices beyond notebooks," such as tablets.
Cr-48, the machine Pichai tested on stage, is a black, barebones, device that boasts a 12.1-inch display and is powered by an Intel Atom processor, like most Windows netbooks today.