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Google Cr-48 Chrome hardware pilot program: 'Not for the faint of heart'

Want to get your hands on one of those Chrome OS laptops demoed by Google today? Google's running a pilot program for the new hardware, and you can sign up.

The Google Cr-48 laptop. Google

Want to get your hands on one of those Chrome OS laptops demoed by Google today at the Chrome OS launch event? Admittedly, the first glimpse at a Chrome OS laptop wasn't exactly visually inspiring, but that's because it was a deliberately generic-looking black box for testing and development, not a final retail product targeted to store shelves. But while this system, code-named Cr-48, won't be available on Amazon or in Best Buy, that doesn't mean it'll be impossible to get.

Google's Chrome pilot program invites Web surfers to sign up as essentially beta testers for the hardware and software. Heading over to Google's Chrome section, you'll find detailed instructions on how to apply. Google says:

The Chrome operating system is a work in progress. We're looking for the right users to try it out and tell us how we can make it better.

Each participant in the Pilot program will receive a Cr-48 Chrome notebook; in return, we'll expect you to use it regularly and send us detailed feedback.

The application page for the pilot program adds, "The Pilot program is not for the faint of heart. Things might not always work just right."

The program is open to "individuals, businesses, schools, nonprofits, and developers based in the United States," and "applicants must be at least 18 years of age."

If you want to apply for the Google Chrome pilot program, start here, but don't get your hopes up, as quantities are limited.

We have a limited number of Chrome notebooks to distribute, and we need to ensure that they find good homes. That's where you come in. Everything is still very much a work in progress, and it's users, like you, that often give us our best ideas about what feels clunky or what's missing.

According to Google, the specs for the Cr-48 are as follows:

  • 12.1-inch display
  • Full-size keyboard
  • Oversize clickable touchpad
  • World-mode 3G
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • Eight-plus hours of use
  • Eight-plus days of standby
  • Webcam
  • SSD hard drive