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12/10/2010
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Google Chrome OS CR-48 Notebook Reviewed

Google's Chrome OS preview netbook is beautiful and full of promise, but the company's vision for the cloud isn't enough.

Google Chrome OS Promises Computing Without Pain
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Google Chrome OS Promises Computing Without Pain

Google's Cr-48 Chrome OS netbook provides the first glimpse of a "third choice in desktop operating systems," as Google CEO Eric Schmidt puts it. It's all the things Google boasts: speedy, simple, and secure. But there are things it cannot do, only some of which won't matter in time.

Chrome OS is not really a third choice because it's not a desktop operating system. It doesn't support direct file manipulation. It's a browser-based operating system, and comparing Chrome OS to a desktop operating system like Windows or Mac OS is a bit like comparing a motorcycle to a pickup truck. Both work as transportation but if you're hauling drywall, you're not going to want a motorcycle.

Chrome OS will be succeed because, for many circumstances, the Web is enough and the price point will be compelling.

It's appealing because it's not a hassle. I never have to worry about updating Chrome OS. That happens automatically, without the interruption of dialog boxes. It took me less than a minute to start up, establish an account, take my own picture, connect to my WiFi network, and load my iGoogle homepage. All my Google Docs files were there waiting for me, in the cloud. All my bookmarks were there, thanks to Chrome's synchronization capabilities.

With a traditional laptop, transferring files and loading applications takes a lot more time.

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