I got a chance to play around with a Google CR-48 laptop today. It’s a pretty interesting device but way too barebones for my daily computing needs. I honestly don’t know if it would even be sufficient for me considering how I spend my time just browsing the web. I guess maybe I don’t fully understand the indented audience for the operating system (Chrome OS). Chrome OS seems way too simplistic to be of use as a personal computer. It seems to be better suited as a sort of thin client that serves as an information kiosk.
Chrome OS is basically just the Google Chrome web browser with a bare minimal set of settings to allow users to log in and sync with the cloud and provide a small set of hardware information (battery level, 3G/WiFi connectivity, etc.). Surprisingly it does have a terminal (CTRL + ALT + T), but there are no local applications like in similar unix/linux operating systems. The only applications that exist seem to be networking tools (e.g. SSH). I’m not even sure if you could effectively develop on this machine; not even web applications.
Overall, it is a really interesting concept. I’m not entirely sure of what the target audience may be, but if nothing else, it could be a collector’s item considering that Google has only manufactured about 60,000 of these machines.
Read more at the official pilot program page: Google Cr48 Pilot Program – Chrome OS (google.com)