It's bittersweet, this ending. Google
Product Management vice president
Sundar Pichai has just confirmed via Twitter that the last CR-48 netbook
has shipped out for now, and we have our doubts on the production line
restarting. The CR-48 was always a strange launch. Google never "sold"
them. You had to apply for one and get lucky enough to have one shipped
to you for beta testing. It was clear from the start that the CR-48 was
meant to be a beta machine, intended to give Google an idea of how Chrome
OS would fare in the real world.
It seems that the testing is complete, and Google seems to have gathered
quite a bit of information. The good news here is that this end likely
signals another beginning. Now that Google has taken their turn, they
will soon be able to hand off a final version of Chrome OS to their
partner vendors. It's said that devices from Samsung and Acer are still
on track for a launch in the middle of 2011, hopefully providing the
first mass-market Chrome OS devices to consumers.
Little is known about what those devices will look like and feel like,
but Google already set the bar high with the CR-48. Hopefully those
future products will give the Fusion platform from AMD and Intel's Atom
platform a run for their respective dollars. We need some serious
competition in the netbook / low-cost laptop space, and who better to
provide that than Acer and Samsung (courtesy of Google)?