"Is that the Google notebook? Wow, I really like it!" That's what everybody's who's seen the Cr-48 Chrome prototype says. It's not because they love the software.
The Cr-48 is what notebooks should be like: Spare. There are no residue-streaking stickers. No stamps. No logos, no badges, no labels. Nothing shiny or blinking or twinkling. No swooshes or frivolous textures. It's pure, unbroken matte black skin.
The most remarkable design is so subtle you don't realize that it is design. And that's the Cr-48. There's nothing unnecessary here (even if it doesn't have some things that some people might say are necessary). Superfluous keys are deleted to make room for more useful ones, like search and screenshot. The trackpad is buttonless, so there's more tracking surface. It's plastic and lightweight, but sturdy. There are curves and edges exactly where they should be. Functional, beautiful minimalism. It's like a ThinkPad designed for someone under the age of 30.
Compare: Rows of laptops at Best Buy, more tattooed than flamed out rockstars. NVIDIA GTX 483958 graphics, INTEL INSIDE, MCAFEE PCONDOM, HP RECOMMENDS WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM ULTIMATE AWESOME EDITION. And it's worse when you actually turn them on.
A blank slate of a laptop, the Cr-48 makes sense coming from Google, which isn't trying to sell you a bundle of parts or software. It doesn't matter who built the laptop, or what's inside. Just that your eyeballs are firmly affixed to the internet, undistracted—and the ads Google serves up. The Cr-48 is just a prototype only a few of us (like you!) will get to use, but don't be surprised if, like the Skywalkers, there is another.
It's just unfortunate that Google might be the only company that could give us this kind of laptop, because it's the kind of machine that some people clearly want: One that lets us just focus on what's in front of us.