first_imgUnsurprisingly, I love my Cr-48. I say unsurprisingly because I feel like it was made for me. As a blogger I need little more than a web browser, an SD card slot, and crazy battery life. That is practically all the CR-48 is. Well, that and free data from Verizon Wireless for 2 years, and while 100mb/month doesn’t sound like much, consider Verizon having offered that to 30,000 people for free, and even more to everyone else who ever buys a Chrome OS device. As an added bonus I had already been a Chrome convert since it’s initial Chromium build in Linux, so I was a happy guy.Despite its many flaws I wanted to share this experience with as many people as I could. As I watched the Google PR event where they announced Chrome OS, a barcode lay in the background of the event. My trusty Android phone already in hand, I snapped a shot of it and was whisked away to a brief form where I might request a device. I not only filled it out for myself, but tweeted the URL so many others could experience the device.Today it’s estimated that Google gave out a little more than 30,000 of these sub-notebooks. Free. Not even a shipping charge. A more than generous offering and a great way to get the device in the hands of as many people as possible to help shake the fear of “yet another OS” from the presentation. These devices have been picked apart, teased, discarded, and loved in what seemed to me to be the weirdest combination of responses from a device I had ever seen. Probably the most interesting thought still reigns clear in the minds of many: Where can I buy one?!They aren’t for sale. The Cr-48 was a reference model. The mold from which hardware manufacturers could use to design and sell their own Chrome OS devices, which should be showing up in just a few short months. So here 30,000 people sit with a device that only the skilled can replicate on their own hardware (I’ve yet to see one that compares) with no price tag, and no real way to assess its value. Sure, compare it to loose similarities like the $450 Jolibook or the $1,000 Macbook Air. That’s fair, right? No. The JoliBook doesn’t have free data and access to cheap unlimited data. And while neither does the Macbook Air, the hardware similarities there end with relative screensize and battery life. The fact that this device even could be compared to a MacBook Air speaks highly of it.So what’s the value of a device that you got for free, offers chunks of free internet, has amazing battery life, and puts you on the cutting edge of a brand new kind of computing?I asked around, and for a used one, it didn’t seem like most would spend more than $400 to buy it off of me. Obviously I didn’t sell it, but that has more to do with the combination of really liking the device and a the complexity behind selling something I got for free for $400, but it’s interesting to me to see its implied value. Owning one puts you in a very exclusive club, and it’s membership has a very real value.last_img