[NOTE: Here’s the lead story from last week’s Technologizer’s T-Week newsletter–go here to sign up to receive it each Friday. You’ll get original stuff that won’t show up on the site until later, if at all.]
I’ve been having fun fooling around with Google’s Cr-48 notebook, the experimental machine which runs its Chrome OS. (The company is doling out thousands of Cr-48 test units, but Chrome OS laptops won’t go on sale until next year.) I even took the Cr-48 on a long-weekend trip and pretty much got everything done that I needed to do. (For instance, I wrote this column on it, using Google Docs.)
But when I returned home from my trip, I put the Cr-48 away and haven’t returned to it since. I’m sure I’ll revisit it. But for now, given a choice between a Chrome OS laptop and a traditional laptop (my MacBook Air), I’m opting for the latter.
How come? It’s simple, really: Chrome OS both giveth and taketh away. What it giveth is simplicity and security–since it’s pretty much just a Web browser that’s sprouted stubby little legs that let it function (just barely) as an operating system, there’s very little that can go wrong. It boots and snaps out of suspend mode in a jiffy; it’s almost impossible to lose data, since it’s all stored in the cloud; it should be as close to impervious to viruses and trojans as a computing device can be.
But Google accomplished all this by creating an operating system that can’t run local applications. And for now, at least, losing local apps is a gigantic downside. If you’re in love with the notion of a Web-only computer, you may love the Cr-48; if you just want to accomplish stuff, it’s a work in progress at best.
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