AN OPERATING SYSTEM IN THE CLOUD

A new kind of laptop is coming out from Acer and Samsung in the next few months. It’s code-named the C-48 and uses Google’s “Chrome” web browser as its operating system.

Chrome C-48 Laptop

Unlike any other computer, this one will operate entirely in the Google cloud. There will be no maintenance chores like installing or uninstalling programs; no anti-virus or anti-spyware program will be required. When you open the lid, the computer will boot up and if you’re within range of any Wi-Fi service or cell phone tower, you will instantly be on the Internet and in the cloud.

Everything you use the computer for (except a doorstop) will take place online using Google’s Chrome web browser, which has 120 million users right now on ordinary computers. We are among those, because we like the Chrome web browser better than Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox. It’s faster and has a near perfect safety record. (In a computer security conference in San Francisco last year, local hackers were invited to try and break into protected operating systems and succeeded with all of them except Chrome.)

Everybody seems to like the system but early reviewers have given the prototypes of the new laptops mixed grades. The trackpad is so bad, some say, that you’ll need to plug in a mouse. Instead of a “caps lock” key, you get a search key, which you might hit by accident. You can download files, but the size of the drive is unknown so far. And although it’s fairly thin, it weighs four pounds, which is heavy these days, especially compared to the MacBook Air. All this is correctible, of course, since there are still months to go before release. The new laptop is expected to cost $300, so you could buy three of them for less than the $1,000 Mac Air.

What can you do with the C-48 besides everything you’re doing now? Take a look at the new Chrome Web Store, at chrome.google.com/webstore, and you’ll see hundreds of applications already there in a dozen categories. You don’t have to have a C-48 computer to use them, by the way; any Internet-connected device will do.

Chrome Web Store

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