Google Cr-48 laptop makes up for beta OS with swanky hardware

You know that Cr-48 development laptop Google shipped its Chrome OS beta on? We talked a little bit about the machine two days ago, but now, the folks at Engadget have posted a full-fledged hands-on preview of it. From what I can tell, this is one of the better-designed netbooks out there.

Engadget points out that the system has a matte plastic finish—no glossy smudge-magnet surfaces here—a "great" keyboard, and a nice, large, multi-touch ClickPad. There's also a 12.1" display with a magnetic latch, some solid-state storage (Engadget doesn't say how much), and a removable 58 Wh battery. Google reportedly stuck an Atom processor inside, too, but the report doesn't go into detail.

Judging by that hands-on video, Chrome OS looks pretty slick despite its beta status. I dig the neat little touches, like how holding the power button makes the full-screen browser window zoom out to reveal the log-in screen, and holding further makes the log-in screen collapse into the black backdrop before the machine shuts down. Apparently, the system takes only 15-20 seconds to boot up, but closing the display puts it in a hibernation mode that the laptop can handle for days.

Too bad this only appears to be a preview machine for testers. I have my fingers crossed about the possibility of a retail system featuring the same chassis and guts, though. There must be be a hardware vendor behind such a slick laptop design.

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