Today at this morning’s major Chrome event, Google has just announced that Chrome OS… isn’t done. It still has work to do with camera drivers (for notebook USB ports), finishing Google Cloud Print, and more. But it wants to get the notebook into early adopters’ hands, so it’s announcing a new Pilot Program. Google will be distributing a notebook called Cr-48. These are not for sale, they are designed as a test unit.
Consumers will be able to apply for this, however, but Google isn’t giving it away to just anyone. On its Facebook Fan Page, they ran a promotion a couple days, announcing a sticker for a Chrome laptop, if you did that quiz, you get a notebook. If you go toyoutube.com/googlechrome and make a video showing why you’re an ideal candidate for this, you’ll have a chance to snag a notebook. And everyone in the audience at today’s event is getting one (everyone claps). And if you don’t fall into any of those buckets, you can go tothis page to apply.
The CR-48 is supposed to boot in 10 seconds, includes a webcam, and 12-inch LCD display. It is 3.8 pounds with 8 hours of battery life and an entire week of standby time, according to Google’s marketing materials. Eventually, manufacturing partners will make Chromebooks you can actually buy in stores.
For the last few days we’ve been using the Google Nexus S, manufactured by Samsung, with the new Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” operating system. This is a phone that was designed with direct input from the Google Android team. And like its predecessor, the Nexus One, which was released in January 2010, it has a “clean” install of Android. That means there is no additional software layer from third party OEMs or carriers to interfere with the user experience. Like the Nexus One, this will become the reference phone for this generation of Android.
Unlike the Nexus One, the phone was not built from scratch – the starting point was the Samsung Galaxy S, released earlier this year. And Google will not be selling this phone directly to consumers. They say that experiment is over, and this phone will be available initially at Best Buy in the U.S. (on T-Mobile) and Carphone Warehouse in the U.K. Google says the phone is currently expected to be available starting December 16, although pre-orders might be taken earlier.
The phone does not fail to please. It is significantly faster than the Nexus One (and most current generation phones), has a high-end AMOLED 400 x 800 resolution screen that is second only to the iPhone 4, and is NFC-enabled. Like all Android phones it is dead simple to set up, assuming you use Gmail, Google Calendar, Google contacts, etc. But it’s Google’s various apps, some of which are unavailable for the iPhone, that make it the best phone on the market today.