Thursday, January 27, 2011
If you are unfamiliar with the CR48 I would recommend reading about the netbook and Chrome OS directly from Google.
I've been using the CR48 off and on for the past few days and am ready to put down my first impressions. First, what I like:
1. Amazingly fast boot-up time.
This was the video that I attached to my application for the Chrome OS pilot program:
This is how fast Chrome OS boots up:
2. Chrome Sync
The first time I logged into Chrome OS with my Google account I was asked if I wished to enable Chrome sync. As soon as I clicked "yes" Chrome OS synced all of my book marks, themes, history, and web apps with my other installations of Chrome (on my laptop and my desktop).
Because Chrome OS is completely cloud based (no local storage), I can't lose any data. If my computer is lost, stolen, or destroyed, all I need to do is log into another Chrome OS computer and everything is right where I left it. Computers are now disposable. Hardware is irrelevant.
3. Track Pad Gestures
The nice, large trackpad on the CR48 netbook recognizes classic "Apple" gestures such as the pinch, two finger scroll, and two finger click (right click). I will admit that I am still getting used to the placement and sensitivity of the trackpad (I seem to regularly swipe the trackpad with my palm while typing), but I'm getting better at it.
4. 3g Integration
I haven't needed to use it yet, but each CR48 comes with integrated 3g wireless service provided by Verizon. Users receive 100mb/month free for two years. That's not much-- enough to check your email on the road a few times a month, but hey, it's free! Additional data can be purchased without a contract. I like the idea that this machine can constantly be connected to the web. Something that is essential considering without the web you can't even log into it!
5. Integrated Browser Controls
There are a few new keys on the CR48 keyboard including a "search" button that opens up a search window as well as back and forward browser controls, refresh, and window toggling.
What I don't like
1. The Chrome Apps Store
The Chrome App store is a joke. Many of the "apps" are simply book marks. Tweetdeck is the only Chrome App that I have installed that is actually an app. The app store is what made Apple's mobile devices so compelling. If Google expects Chrome OS to take off, they will need a more compelling marketplace.
2. Media Transfer
My CR48 came with one USB port and an SD card slot. I plugged a flash drive, my ipod, and my digital camera into the USB drive and nothing happened. It appears that there is currently no way to upload media onto the web via Chrome OS. This is likely a driver compatibility issue that will (hopefully) be resolved in the future.
Because my printer is connected to a Mac, I currently have no way of printing from my CR48. Google Cloud print looks like a great solution, but it currently only works on PC with Windows XP, Vista, or 7 installed.
This is probably a little picky, but the speakers on the CR48 are horrible! The audio is intermittently completely garbled and indistinguishable. When this happens I have to reboot (fortunately that doesn't take long!) to fix it. When the audio is "working" the sound quality is poor.
Those are my initial thoughts. If you have any questions about the CR48 let me know and I'll do my best to answer them!