Google just sent me a Google Chrome OS netbook Cr-48, thanks friends. It's a prototype, so it's not really about testing the hardware but the new OS. I still added a few notes.
Here are my first impressions
-add your gmail account (no google apps support yet) and it's customized with your preferences, bookmarks etc in a minute
-it's as good as using Chrome the browser, which had been my default for months and blazing fast
-it goes in and out of sleep in one second, yes, one second
-it switches from wifi to 3G connection in a few seconds seemlessly
-it has a great battery time, about 7 hours, great for a conference
-it feels rock solid
-the keyboard is really good
-Google gave me 100MB per month free Verizon data for two years and really cheap $9.99 unlimited per day and other plans
-Seesmic Web runs great on it (I know I am biased)
-it's very simple, nothing to install, nothing to save, everything saved in the cloud. Change hardware no problem it all comes back.
-I love the dedicated keyboard strokes for search, changing window (behaves like spaces on OSX) and browser controls
-I miss a few apps, for example Skype and Skype chat. Unsure we will ever see a Skype web based
-some apps just don't feel as good as web apps, yet. I love evernote desktop and I don't feel as good on the web version, for example
-I often do complex powerpoint presentations and google docs is great for simple, but not yet complex presentations
-unsure how it's usable offline in a plane for example, likely not much, the offline mode of most apps isn't there yet
-missing little things I like on my mac like the widgets, for cities in different timezones for example, no question this is going to come somehow web based with extensions if not already there, I need to have a look at Chrome extensions
pretty bad but likely to get better
-if you open more than 5-10 windows and tabs it gets very slow, which is likely a hardware issue, no biggie as this will evolve but a problem for me for intensive use on this model
All in all I am very glad I can play with one now and most important test our Chrome app seesmic web on it so we keep improving it. I can't wait for final models to ship. Is this the future of netbooks entirely in the cloud? Maybe. Time will tell, but it's a very nice start.
update: I have spent my evening on it and the more I use it the more I like it. The battery time and the keyboard quality make it very usable.