We've taken the CR-48, Google's netbook running the Chrome OS, on a two-month test drive to see how it performs in real-world conditions. Here are nine things we like and nine things we don't like.
Like: Free 100MB with Verizon 3G
In the US, the laptop comes with 100MB of data for free from Verizon 3G. True, you'll definitely use up this monthly quota fast if you spend it, for example, watching a lot of YouTube videos. Still, 100MB for free is better than nothing.
Google has yet to confirm whether the laptop will benefit from the same bundled data when it hits the UK, and who the network providing the data allowance will be.
Don't like: Picture perfect - or not
When you first sign on to claim ownership of the CR-48, it requires that you let it take a snapshot of you. Try to look your best, because you cannot redo or replace it with another shot later (unless you reset the computer by forcing it into recovery mode).
Like: You can hack it
Google doesn't mind if people tinker around with the inner-workings of the CR-48. You can access the computer's terminal shell ('developer mode') by simply flipping a switch within the computer's battery compartment.
Some of the more Linux-savvy recipients of the CR-48 have figured out how to get other operating systems running on it, including Ubuntu.
Don't like: No USB and SD card support
The CR-48 comes with an SD flash memory slot, but Chrome OS does not allow you to access the contents of an SD card that you stick into it. The same is true if you plug a USB flash memory stick into its USB port.
Future access is likely: type about:flags in the Chrome OS address bar, and you'll find 'Advanced File System' listed. Although this can be enabled, we still were not able to access the contents of external flash memory media that we stuck into the computer.
Like: It's free
Despite the flaws of the computer, it's hard to gripe much when Google is giving them away for free. The company will give away a total of 60,000 units.
As to whom specifically they are gifted to, and what criteria one must meet to qualify, that remains a mystery.