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Google Cr-48: Inside the Chrome OS 'unstable isotope'

Mountain View goes to extremes

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Black Chrome

The all-black Cr-48 measures 0.9- by 11.8- by 8.6-inches and weighs about 3.6 pounds. It's not as svelte as Apple's Mac Book Air, but it's considerably more portable than, say, a MacBook Pro. The display measures 12.1-inches across the diagonal, and the keyboard is full sized, though Google has rejiggered a few keys. The traditional Caps Lock key is now a search key that opens up a new browser tab within the OS – what do you expect from the world's largest search engine? – and function keys have given way to various keys for adjusting volume and screen brightness and actually navigating the OS.

Google Chrome OS-equipped Cr-48 with MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

Cr-48 between two Apples (click to enlarge)

The machine's touchpad handles left-clicks, right-clicks, and scrolling as well as basic navigation. It's not nearly as adept as, well, an Apple touchpad, but after a little practice, we had few problems using it. The system also offers a USB port, a good old fashioned VGA port, an SD slot, a headphone jack, and a built-in camera. Google says it's still working to provide USB driver support, with cameras as the primary, er, focus.

Google Chrome OS-equipped Cr-48: front view

Touchpad, no buttons (click to enlarge)

Presumably, the first official Chrome OS machines will include Google's revamped keyboard, but it's otherwise unclear how closely they'll resemble the Cr-48. According to Google, the first machines will ship from Acer and Samsung in "the middle of next year."

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