Google unleashed the Chrome OS on the world today, shipping it in a limited-edition prototype laptop outfitted with the kind of hardware and specs that it expects manufacturers to use with the browser-based operating system. Chrome OS represents a major step forward for cloud computing, with single-serving Web sites getting rebranded as easy-access apps and the nascent HTML5 underpinning the whole show.

It's far from perfect, though. Not all of Chrome-the-browser's extensions run on Chrome-the-OS, and although it boots and wakes fast, it lags in other areas. At the end of the day, it's a souped-up Netbook, perhaps more G1 than Nexus One. It's the operating system that makes it so exciting. Read CNET's full review of the Chrome OS for a more in-depth analysis.

More Chrome OS and Cr-48 coverage:

  • Gallery: Introducing the Cr-48
  • Cr-48, black MacBook: Separated at birth?
  • Podcast: Reporter's Roundtable: Chrome OS and the future of operating systems