Google's secret PC

Slow down, Google, we can't catch up! Not content with updating their mobile OS, launching a new mobile phone, and introducing a new desktop OS, they've also... you guessed it... launched a new computer!

Well, sort of. Look behind the 'Google makes a PC' headlines and you'll find something a bit more complicated. Yes, Google showed off a specially-made Google-branded (or, more accurately, non-branded) laptop this week. The CR-48, as it's snappily known, is designed to show off Google's new Chrome OS, and boasts special Chrome-only buttons and sexy SSD storage like in Apple's' new MacBook Air. It turns on in a matter of seconds and is reportedly so quiet you can hardly tell whether it's on standby or just off.

But... you can't buy one. Google isn't experimenting with selling this to the public, the way they did with their Nexus One Android showcase phone in early 2010. No, this is just for participants in their pilot programme. It's a great deal - you get a free CR-48, you just have to send them loads of feedback. But it's just for those in the US.

Still, if you want to get a flavour of what the Chrome OS computing experience looks like, Engadget has video. And, worry not: real Chrome OS netbooks, from the likes of Samsung, are expected in the first half of next year.

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