After a couple of weeks with the Cr-48 laptop and using Google's Chromium-OS as a semi full time computer, I keep having to remind myself that the laptop hardware that is the Cr-48 laptop is only proof of concept of what hardware for future Chromium operating system computers could be like.
Yes, the laptop has a webcam, it supports standard cell phone headsets like the basic iPhone headset that I use as my goto headphones and a microphone, it offers Verizon wireless for on the go internet at 100mb per month, and it has a funky new keyboard layout that includes a missing caps lock key and a huge touchpad that's the size of a playing card; but that's not what this laptop that Google is giving out for the pilot program is trying to show off... Google is trying to show off Chromium-OS and what you can do from only a browser and the cloud.
The Cr-48 webcam is not the greatest, but you know what? It works, and I can make a Google Talk video call with you right this instant. The speakers are dull and the microphone is poor quality, but you and I can use Google Voice and if it is that hard for you to hear me, I can pull the headset I already carry with me out of my pocket, and use it. The keyboard does take some getting used to and the touchpad is actually pretty powerful when you learn its tricks, like pinch to zoom, two finger scroll, and using alt+tap for a right click button. But I have to remember, all that hardware is not what Google cares about me getting excited over.
Using a browser instead of a 'My Documents' folder and saving pictures, documents and other files on websites all over the internet and having an almost always available (remember, only 100mb of Verizon internet connectivity a month) online backup of your computer is what Google wants me and the other pilot program suckers to use, love, and become enslaved to. They gave us a decent piece of laptop hardware with enough tricks up it's sleeve and improvements that can be made via software updates (like better flash to improve perceived webcam performance, microphone tweaks inside of GMail, and the ability to pay for a full day of unlimited Verizon internet) to keep us interested and using Chromium-OS so that we'll keep taking this little laptop all over the place and talking to our very jealous or totally uninterested friends about what can be done with only a browser and finding ourselves really dependent on synchronizing our Google Chrome browser on our Windows and OSx computers we are already used to using at home and at work.