What we know about Google’s Cr-48 Chrome OS notebook so far

Cr-48Google’s first Chrome OS notebook was unveiled only three days ago, but as promised, it’s already been delivered to a lucky handful for a test run. And lucky for us, those handful are reporting on their findings.

First of all, let’s review the specs announced at the December 7 Chrome event. The notebook has a 12-inch display with a full-sized keyboard, as well as an large, clickable touchpad, and built-in webcam. It features 3G and Wi-Fi for connectivity, and an impressive battery life: eight plus hours of active use, and another eight plus for standby.

Now for some basic updates.

Hardware

Engadget claims that the the Cr-48 has a quality feel, and its hardware is made of a “soft, rubber-like matte” plastic. The site compares its exterior to the Droid and also says it’s reminiscent of the old MacBook. Apparently, though, the Cr-48’s keyboard is fairly unique. As we were told on Tuesday, there’s no caps lock (which has been replaced by a search key), no function controls, and no command button, opting instead for larger Ctrl and Alt keys. Engadget also says that the search has the ability to work as a caps lock if you want; otherwise clicking search will launch a new tab. One thing is completely unchanged, however, and that’s the Chrome keyboard shortcuts, which remain the same.

Maybe the strangest choice is the clickable touchpad, which in a very Apple-like move, does not feature a right click option. Tapping two fingers to the pad delivers a right click.

Computer World also mentions there is an SD memory card slot, and only one USB port. The site also reports that there is no Ethernet connection.

Firmware

Since it’s a totally unbranded model, testers can only assume what kind of processor it’s working with. Computer World guesses it might be Intel, and TechCrunch supports that, saying it’s using an Intel Atom. But the jury’s also still out on what kind of memory and storage the Cr-48 features. Apparently, it’s got a solid-state drive, but its size is anyone’s guess.

As far as performance, Computer World claims that websites featuring JavaScript were a little laggy, but still functional. TechCrunch reported that multiple testers have had issues playing Flash content, including sites like YouTube and Hulu.

Chrome OS

As in the demo, the startup process is quick and easy and you sign up with a Google account and take your headshot (or skip it if you’re camera shy). It then brings up that well-known Chrome tab as promised. Computer World says that if you know how to use Chrome as a browser, then you already know how to use Chrome OS. As promised, it’s nothing but the Internet. And there’s not much more to say about that, at least yet.

PC World reports that nine apps come pre-installed on the notebook: a start-up tour, Scratchpad, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Talk, and the Web Store.

Product Review

Dolby makes the most comfortable headphones ever, and that's only the start

Dolby has taken its first step into product design with the new Dolby Dimension wireless headphones. Offering tons of features, supreme comfort, and a shocking price tag, the Dimension are a unique new take on audio in the home, and out.
Cars

The DBX SUV will go where no Aston Martin has gone before

When it launches in 2019, the Aston Martin DBX will be the British automaker's first SUV. In the meantime, camouflaged DBX prototypes will undergo strenuous testing around the world.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Smart Home

Best Buy offers a slew of Black Friday deals for smart home, security, and Wi-Fi

Building the excitement for Black Friday, Best Buy released its first round of deals for smart home, security, and Wi-Fi devices from Amazon, Ring, Lenovo, Philips Hue, Arlo, and Netgear. The deals in the first round expire November 11.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Apple

iPhone users are finding themselves randomly locked out of their Apple ID

According to posts on Reddit and Twitter, it looks like users on Reddit and Twitter having some issues with their Apple accounts. Specifically, it seems as though users are getting randomly locked out of their Apple IDs.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Computing

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Photography

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.
Computing

Your MacBook can live in the lap of luxury with this leather case

Though there are several cases which we think are best for covering up MacBooks, Twelve South's Journal case is one of the newest available, providing luxurious leather coverage for your Apple laptop.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

15-inch MacBook Pro gets more powerful with new AMD Vega GPUs

Confirming Apple's quiet October announcement, new configurations for the top-range 15-inch Apple MacBook laptop are now available, coming complete with AMD Pro Vega 16 or Pro Vega 20 graphics cards on board.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.