It has been just a little over two months since I received the Google Chrome OS Cr-48 computer to beta test for the folks at Google. The mini-laptop thus far has functioned very well and I use it daily for a few hours to surf the Internet and check email. I must admit that the bulk of my blogging is done on my full-sized 17″ Toshiba laptop, because the full-sized keyboard just makes it easier. Basically I believe that Google Chrome OS Cr-48 is an excellent notebook to travel with because of its light weight and small size. I will be taking the unit with me on my next business flight.

I mentor a youth group at our local church which consists of 9th to 11th grade high school boys. These kids are fairly computer savvy and in December we had built a desktop computer from scratch, which we donated to our local food pantry. Last night I brought the Google Chrome OS Cr-48 along with me for a sort of show and tell. Our meetings usually consist of about 50 plus youth, a snack supper, main meeting, and then we break off into our small groups.

After we had completed our interaction time I brought out the notebook computer for them to play with. I opted to use the guest account as to not mess up my profile settings and tabs that I have set up for myself. I addressed the questions about where I got it, what kind of computer it was, and what Google was hoping to accomplish by storing everything in the cloud. As each youth took their turn looking the notebook over and surfing the Internet, their opinion was very similar to what others of us beta testers have said.

The trackball was hard to control. I mentioned I use a mouse when I use the notebook. They all liked the rubberized cover and noted how light the computer was. Several also commented how quick the computer was when it was connected to the Verizon 3G network. Overall, the teenagers liked the computer, but their biggest complaint was the lack of games.

Some of them tried online gaming sites that they frequently visit and complained that the trackball prevented them from playing the games correctly. They also thought the graphics lacked clarity and complained that the gaming colors were washed out. One teen even mentioned that the notebook wasn’t what he would buy nor use.

Though the notebook received a lot of compliments, it was the lack of games that was the deal killer for these youths. When I explained what the target audience was, they then understood what the notebook was being designed for. These teens want games, not a work system.

Comments welcome.