Google announced this week on Tuesday that they are going to give 60k laptops away to groups and people so that they can test out the new Google Chrome OS. People aren’t testing the laptop, they are testing the operating system itself. These laptops have a 12.1 inch widescreen monitor, built-in webcam and mic on the top of the screen, 8-hour battery, WiFi and 3G with Verizon where they give you 100mb of data for $9.99 each month for 2 years.
The test itself is only supposed to last for 6 months which makes me wonder if they will be asking for the laptops to be returned but the statement that they are giving you 2 years at $10 a month for 3G tells me that perhaps these laptops aren’t going to be taken away after 6 months. But I can’t tell for sure. I mean, what are they gonna do with 60k used laptops? They can’t sell them and they’re not going to take the time and money to refurbish them are they?
In case you are wondering why I am blogging about this all of a sudden, well, I have one. I signed up to be a beta tester last year but I don’t know if that’s why I got so lucky. I got an email from Google on Wednesday inviting me to apply to get one. Friday morning I went to the grocery store for an energy drink and found it on my doorstep when I came home.
At first I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t order anything. It didn’t even occur to me that I got approved for a laptop. As I’m opening the box I see this diagram of a helmet that an evil scientist mouse would build for world domination. Or at least cat domination. As I opened the box I see the battery pack then the laptop itself.
My first thought was “WOW I was approved? NO FREAKIN’ WAY!”
I took a picture of the keyboard, screen, top and bottom. It looks navy blue in the image for some odd reason when in reality it’s more of a charcoal color. Click it to see it full size which is 1280×768.
By the way, this is not a product review, it’s more of a bragging post :p lol. This is not what is going to be for sale in 6 months when the beta testing will be finished and as I said I am not testing the laptop but the operating system.
One of the rules about being in this program is that I use this as my primary machine. I’m not sure if blogging about it is allowed but since I’ve seen other blogs talking about it and a few YouTube videos (as I write this 1,130 videos) showing it off and people talking about it, I figure it might be ok. Since this is going to be my primary computer for the next 6 months I figure I might as well talk about it.
I have used Google Chrome as my default browser for over a year now so it’s not a difficult adjustment for me. Although this new keyboard and touchpad are adding to the challenge. I am getting used to it tough.
I have not actually timed it but when you first turn the computer on by either opening the lid or pushing the power button, it gives you this cool Chrome logo then within seconds you are in your login screen. When I see my image with my Gmail account name, I type in my password and I’m in. Instant desktop, no waiting. When I close the lid while it’s turned on then come back to it later, it loads instantly back to where I left off.
My desktop is a Chrome browser like you would see when you first open your browser but it’s always there. Instead of having the most used websites on that window, it has icons like you would have on your desktop. There is a new Google Web Store where you can search for extensions, apps and themes. When you find the one you want, just click install and viola it’s installed. No muss no fuss.
If it’s an app then you will have a new icon on your “desktop” but if it’s an extension then you will have a new icon on the top of your browser next to the wrench and bug report link.
Since it’s a website based computer, it’s really fast. I’m telling you, it is so fast that it puts my desktop computer to so much shame. Like when I watch a YouTube video it’s very smooth. It plays the video from start to finish without any interruption like my desktop does. I’ve gotten to the point where I hate watching videos on my computer because of how they keep pausing and I’ve recently reformatted it too so this new laptop is very welcome on my desk.
I haven’t tried the webcam yet but as soon as one of my friends and/or family members logs into Skype then I can try it. Oh, since Skype is obviously not a web-based app, I had to find a web-based IMing website that allows you to Skype. I found imo.im in the web store and I’ve been using it for all of my IMing.
I have been able to use the webcam with taking pictures with Picnik so I can tell that the webcam built into the top of the screen isn’t very good quality. Then again like I said, I am not testing the laptop but more the OS so it doesn’t have to be great quality, although it is much better quality than my current webcam but I digress.
I have had a few crashes but it turns out to be my fault because I’m not used to the touchpad. It doesn’t have any buttons, it’s just a touchpad. You can press on it and the whole thing clicks on the bottom but you can also lightly tap on it which is how you click. The problem I have with it is that it’s so freaking huge that when I type, my hand is constantly moving the cursor and clicking things. I have to learn to lift my right hand while I type to avoid that.
It’s an awesome computer and I will be very happy with it just as long as they don’t take it away from me lol. I don’t know how much it is going to cost when they start selling it in the summer of 2011 but it is worth every dime considering it is the easiest computer for anyone to use. You don’t have to know anything about computers, all you need to know is what website you want to look at.
There is still some time if you want to get in on this. All you have to do is go to this website http://www.google.com/chromeos/ and apply for the pilot program. The deadline is 11:59:59 on 12/21/2010. Good luck.