Last year, I applied to participate in Google‘s Chrome OS beta project. About a week later, I was amazed and delighted to find a free CR-48 on my front porch. I used the CR-48 as my main computer for 6 months, and enjoyed it. It was fun seeing Chrome OS evolve over time and I enjoyed the experience. (For more on the CR-48, see my previous posts here, here, here, and here.)
Fast forward to last week, when a Google email arrived offering the Arctic White Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook for $499 via Gilt.com. While I thought $499 was a bit pricey for what’s essentially a netbook, I went for it. It arrived today!
My initial reaction to Samsung Series 5 Chromebook:
- Gorgeous, solid hardware
- Lovely white lid, adorned by Chrome logo
- Responsive, easy to use “island” type keyboard
- Love the matte screen
- As with the CR-48, the cap-lock key is replaced by a search key
- Long battery life (10+ hours)
- 100MB Verizon 3G data per month free for 2 years (with opportunity to buy add-on data on a month-by-month basis)
I can see taking the Chromebook with me when traveling or when I want to work at a café – no worries about losing precious personal data if it’s lost or stolen. It’s small, light, and very portable. I enjoy the full screen view and find it fun to use.
Would I recommend Chromebook to friends? Sure, it’s easy to use, low maintenance, and super portable. Because Google is aggressively improving Chrome OS, using it becomes even more enjoyable over time. I expect the price will drop after it’s been on the market for a few months, and come Christmas may be priced to make the perfect holiday gift.
Posted in Google, mobile, Samsung, technology
Tagged chrome, chromebook, chromeOS, cr-48, CR48, google, samsung, series 5
Just a quick update in my ongoing series about using the CR-48. View earlier posts here: Initial observations, a few more observations, and discovering developer mode.
Since my last post,
I’ve burned through my free 100MB of Verizon. 3G. Attempted to set up add-on data plan online (to tide me over until my free 100MB allotment resets next month), Verizon web form accepted my information and then displayed a “call Verizon” page. Called Verizon to buy add-on data: Long, painful process to finally get transferred to a Verizon employee aware of the Google CR-48 program and special pre-paid data offerings. In all fairness, it’s a new program and Verizon is likely in the process of getting front-line staff trained. Still, wish it had been a smoother process
Continue to use the CR-48 as my primary personal laptop. Surprisingly, the adjustment has been smoother and more pleasant than I expected. After enabling developer mode and installing the developer OS update, the trackpad responsiveness issues seem to be resolved.
Squashing bugs: I figure if Google sent me a free laptop on the condition all I need to do is use it and report bugs, I’ll do my best to get them feedback on my experience. I’ve found some bugs but since data is saved to the cloud, even those requiring a rude shutdown haven’t really been an issue. It’s a nice experience.
I’ll continue to blog on my CR-48 observations — leave a comment if you have any questions.
Posted in Google, media, mobile, software, technology
Tagged 3g, beta, chrome, chromeOS, cloud, cr-48, CR48, developer, google, laptop, notebook, pilot, verizon
I was thrilled to receive a CR48 notebook a few days ago, and have used it intensively for the last day. (See my initial observations post.) It’s an interesting device and I’m finding it enlightening as it’s making me aware of how I extensively I use the web.
As a baseline, I should describe how I’m using the CR48 and the laptop it’s (temporarily) replacing.
- Usage: Home power user. Because my job requires use of business and technical apps not available on the web, I would not be able to use a web-only notebook for work.
- My own laptop: I have a Windows7 Sony Vaio Z laptop that I love — it’s small, light, and still feels powerful despite being 1.5 years old. After a hard drive failure last fall, I’ve preferred to use web apps (rather than installed apps) whenever possible. That approach saves me from having to maintain current version of installed apps (since a web app will always serve up the newest version), and frees up hard drive space. I use Google services extensively, especially since I’m an Android mobile user (HTC EVO, which I also love!).
Now, a few more Chrome OS observations:
- Mouse-less: I use a laptop’s trackpad and keyboard extensively, rather than using a mouse. I find the CR48 supports this use case well — there’s even an interactive onscreen keyboard help to provide guidance about keyboard shortcuts. (I think the CR48 probably supports using a mouse, but haven’t plugged one into the USB port to check.)
- Web vs installed apps: If you rely on installed apps for computing, you won’t like the CR48. Since I have a preference for web apps over installing additional software onto my laptop, the CR48 feels like a natural fit for me.
- Singular focus: On my Vaio, I’ll generally have multiple windows open and more than one window displayed at any given time. With the CR48, I can have multiple tabs open but only one is visible at any time. I’m finding I really like this singular focus — it’s less distracting.
- User experience: Despite the CR48 processor being slower than my Vaio (and thus I wait a bit longer for several pages to open at a time), I’m finding the CR48 to be fun to use. In fact, I used my Vaio for a few minutes last night, and found that I missed using the CR48!
I can definitely see using the CR48 as a lightweight mobile notebook. I also think there’s an interesting (and almost polar opposite) use case for the CR48 as a net device used by less tech savvy folks to check email, reading web pages, etc.
I’ll continue to post observations over the coming weeks. If you have a specific question, please let me know in comments and I’ll do my best to check it out for you.
Posted in Android, EVO, Google, HTC, mobile, software, technology
Tagged 3g, chrome, chromeOS, computing, cr-48, CR48, google, laptop, mobile, netbook, notebook, os, tech, wireless