Google today showed off its Chrome Cr-48 pilot notebooks, essentially 12-inch laptops wrapped around a Chrome browser â€”Â and little else. The company is also rolling out a Web app store, today, for users of the netbooksÂ and all Chrome browsers.
In addition, the company revealed it teamed with Verizon Wireless to provide 100MB of cellular data per month for two years free, without any subscription, activation or overage fees. However, branded notebooks won’t go on sale for about half a year.
Though it’s a Web-only machine, Google thinks that’s what most people want.Â ”People live within the browser and use the Web most of the time,” saidÂ Sundar Pichai, the Chrome notebook’s product manager, in an unveiling today in San Francisco. The pitch is “nothing but the Web.” Web apps and games will be able to run offline, and there will be modern benefits like a large clickable trackpad and a built-in webcam.
The approach is different than traditional PCs because the core of the OS is locked inside read-only firmware. Upon boot, this locked system scans all of the rest of the computer’s OS, making sure everything is in order, and refreshing or alerting the user if something is amiss. This is called “verified boot.” While on one hand this sounds a little Big-Brothery (“Don’t modify your system, or we’ll find out!”), it ensures what Google calls a “forever new” experience. That is, a month or a year after you get a Chrome notebook, the performance will be the same as Day 1, even though it will be updated automatically every time Google releases revisions.