What's in the Mysterious Black Chrome OS Box?

December 8, 2010: 1:48 PM ET

Chrome OS Cr-48 laptop dissected.

That anonymous black netbook that Google (GOOG) announced yesterday doesn't have any labels or specs attached to it.  That doesn't mean the web isn't already taking it apart.

Digitimes says it is produced by Inventec and 60,000 of them are making their way to beta testers.  It will likely be based on an Intel Atom N550 platform which runs at 1.5GHz with 1GB L2 cache.  RAM and storage aren't known at this time but if Google wants to keep hackers from re-purposing the machines as Windows or Mac OS laptops (and keep prices down), the storage will be pretty minimal (16-32GB?).  RAM demands won't be as high as a traditional netbook because Chrome cuts out so much of the traditional OS, but they don't want to skimp on web windows.  I expect 1-2GB of RAM (the max on the N550 platform is 2GB).

Google's Cr-48 site is pretty skimpy on information but the gallery points to a VGA port (old school!), a headphone /mic port, a power port, SD card and a single USB port.  Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs must appreciate the I/O simplicity, which is similar to the MacBook Air...

Not very many ports!

One of the most interesting features is the replacement of the Caps Lock key with a search key.  I am a fan, and NOT JUST BECAUSE IT WILL STOP OBNOXIOUS COMMENTS!  Search has become integral to the computing experience and having a shortcut will be beneficial.  Google has some other proprietary shortcuts in the function menus at the top, as outlined in the video below.

Also, Engadget posts some of the better known specs:

  • 12.1-inch screen.
  • Full size keyboard.
  • Oversized clickpad.
  • Qualcomm Gobi 3G chip for Verizon data in the US, your carrier of choice internationally.
  • 802.11n dual-band WiFi.
  • 8+ hours of active use.
  • 8+ days of standby.
  • Webcam.
  • Flash storage.

Google provides a video modeling a Chrome notebook in action:

Getting online is quick:

I'll update as more information comes to light.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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