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View Full Version : The CR-48: Day 3 Impressions



Soldierboy
December 19th, 2010, 04:35 AM
Now that the initial excitement is waning, I thought it would be a good time to post day 3 impressions. I will primarily focus on physical hardware, software, usability and my predictions for Chrome going into the new year.

Hardware

Physically, I think the CR-48 is a beauty and give Google top marks for creating a tough little netbook that is pleasing to the touch with it's rubberized coating throughout, over-sized touchpad and chiclet type keyboard. These features are not only very welcome for a PC whose sole purpose revolves around living in the web but also rarely seen by many net books on the market today.

For instance, with my heavy-handed style of typing, I can feel no give to the keyboard underpinnings as I can on many other notebook computers -- such as my aging Inspirion 8500. The only give is the generous-sized keys themselves. I am also very pleased with the screen whose 1280x800 pixel space is neither harsh nor difficult to read at many angles. The text readability is nearly on par with my Sony eReader; it really is that crisp.

Finishing out my thoughts on the hardware I would have to say that my only small annoyance happens to be the oversized touchpad itself. While I do indeed love the size I was a little taken aback by having no right mouse button as I've grown so accustomed to with other computers. And while I am slowly adjusting my habits with the ALT+click (can't for the life of me get the hang of the 2-finger click), I feel that it was an oversight by Google to assume that right-clicking would not be oft-needed on a Web-based OS.

Software

What can I say here? Chrome OS is by and large a Linux kernel with a browser and little else. Sure there are a couple terminal apps and a sound and time infrastructure. But immediately upon booting and subsequently logging in you get the gist really quick: This little wonder was designed for one thing and one thing only and that is living in the cloud. Most of your work was meant to be done online with nifty apps from Google's store.

I will reach a little here and say that Google will add things as time and beta testing goes by. For myself, I can envision a little tuck-away side tab that pops out when you hover your mouse near that can give some much needed functionality such as: getting to your home folder and being able to manipulate files within it, allowing us to burn CDs via an external USB burner, a simple calendar popup (as I'm used to on Ubuntu) or some little weather applet suited to your location.

As it stands now we have the Chrome browser where we can get to some advanced features by typing "about:x" in the title bar and we have a limited set of settings to manipulate. We can add functionality by installing web apps. I do hope that by being a Beta product that many more features will be subsequently added and not just refining of what we currently have. That little USB port should recognize what is being plugged into it or at least point you to an online help guide to getting it working. Right now, this simply isn't the case.

To close this section right now, I will simply say that we must wait for the functionality that we need but give Google good marks for making what we do have as very very usable and easy....which leads to...

Usability

This section is a no brainer for those that have received the net book or regular Chrome OS users. From the moment I powered it on to right now I've ran into very little snags and no head scratching. It asked for my language and my network settings. It then installed some updates. I was then presented with a login for my Google account. A nice touch after that was an activation of the built in camera and the setting of a profile picture.

From there it synced my settings from Chrome in Ubuntu and off I went into the deep dark recesses of the internet. I was beeming as I explored every little crevice of the device and its settings. I love the on-screen keyboard detailing every single hotkey and shortcut. I love how the keyboard has dedicated keys for back, forward and refresh -- a breath of fresh air for a cloud book. I even enjoyed the obligatory Welcome Tutorial.

In closing I say that Google has really paid attention to usability. They wanted to make things as simple and straightforward as possible and they have succeeded. My grandmother could open the lid on this, type in her Google credentials and away she would be.

Predictions

I say they will make a killing selling Chrome-based netbooks -- if -- the price is right. And there is no reason the price shouldn't be right. The internal hardware is relatively mild on this CR-48 and should be cheap to produce with other branding such as Acer or Dell. This little machine (and future chrome net books) feature a 1-2-3 knockout combo in my book: Music, Movies and Internet.

This is that machine you take with you on long train commutes or deployments overseas (I speak from experience here) where curing boredom is the name of the game. In the off chance that you happen to be in a wifi-free zone, you can take advantage of the internal 3g card and off you go. I do predict 3g or even 4g cards being present in the upcoming models as that it what a net book was designed for: portability and ease of use.

Google has some kinks to work out (obviously with Beta software) but you can tell that Google has put a lot of time and effort into making not only a very usable product but a product that is viable in a market dominated by Apple. If they keep putting forth that effort as the Android team does, there is no reason why next year's holiday hot item is not the Chrome Net Book..

Antimatter27
December 19th, 2010, 06:36 AM
My only ***ment, having used a Cr-48 for a little bit of time now, is that I absolutely love the two-finger right click. It's quick, intuitive, easy, and just makes sense! It did take me a couple minutes two to get used to it.

kerry_s
December 19th, 2010, 07:00 AM
does it have 3 finger middle click?
is there a torrent client? i like to download movies to watch when i'm bored.
is there a media player?

man, i so want 1. :p

Legendary_Bibo
December 19th, 2010, 07:05 AM
My lame search at Amazon hasn't lead me to anywhere you can buy it. Where do you get it from?

constellanation
December 19th, 2010, 07:34 AM
They aren't for sale (atleast not supposed to be for sale) go here to see if you can get one http://www.google.***/chromeos/pilot-program.html


This is my third day with it also, and I think I agree with you on all points.

I think I just had a minor revelation about the file system (or lack of one) I finally tried to connect my phone (which wouldn't recognize) after that I just put it in the sdcard slot and it recognized but wouldn't see the files or folders. Hmmph I thought, well that's no good. But then I tried to upload a photo to picnik and then I could see all my files (and if I enabled it to all files and not just photo files I could mess around and see the entire folder structure of the os) But it occured to me "in the cloud" you only need to see the files you need per web app or site. i.e. you plug in a device and go to youtube to upload and youtube sees movie files, go to flickr to upload and sees photos, go to your cloud music storage place and it sees music files.

you won't need a traditional file browser (though it'll take some getting used to) or maybe i just need to get some sleep :)

my other crazy theory about the trackpad is it has no buttons, because getting people used to the motions of the trackpad would translate over to tablet form a lot easier, if chrome os ever gets on a tablet (which i think it will)

ok that's my day three 2 cents!

suprman2020
December 19th, 2010, 07:38 AM
does it have 3 finger middle click?
is there a torrent client? i like to download movies to watch when i'm bored.
is there a media player?

man, i so want 1. :p

It has 3 finger middle click, but its not always reliable. There's no torrent client as far I'm aware. There is a media player.

Dobbie03
December 19th, 2010, 07:50 AM
I would love to be testing these, unfortunately living in NZ won't help me when I sign up for the testing. I will be buying one though, when they are released.

kerry_s
December 19th, 2010, 08:02 AM
It has 3 finger middle click, but its not always reliable. There's no torrent client as far I'm aware. There is a media player.

thanks!

i use the middle click a lot to open tabs, so it would have sucked having to right click -> open in tab.

have you guys tried putting "file:///" in to the address bar to access folders & files?

constellanation
December 19th, 2010, 08:05 AM
have you guys tried putting "file:///" in to the address bar to access folders & files?

doesn't do anything, takes you to a "is not available" page

pt123
December 19th, 2010, 10:26 AM
is that I absolutely love the two-finger right click.

that is from the macbook

Legendary_Bibo
December 19th, 2010, 10:42 AM
I signed up to be a tester. That would be pretty freaking sweet if I got chosen.

Also, I liked the question where it asked where you like to listen to your music from.

"Dude with the guitar on the corner"

sdowney717
December 19th, 2010, 01:19 PM
file:///

gives the list in Ubuntu but not on chrome notebook?

Soldierboy
December 19th, 2010, 03:15 PM
file:///

gives the list in Ubuntu but not on chrome notebook?

No, the only way I've gotten a glimpse of the filesystem is when I goto upload a file into any random web form. I can see Google adding this functionality down the road though...Or maybe not, maybe they want to keep it hidden away.

aG93IGRvIGkgdWJ1bnR1Pw==
December 19th, 2010, 07:56 PM
If you can't access local storage, how can you upload files to an image hosting site, or participate on an imageboard for that matter?

suprman2020
December 19th, 2010, 08:47 PM
If you can't access local storage, how can you upload files to an image hosting site, or participate on an imageboard for that matter?

You have local storage. It's just really limited at this point.

HappinessNow
December 19th, 2010, 10:04 PM
If you can't access local storage, how can you upload files to an image hosting site, or participate on an imageboard for that matter?It's really quite simple.