I’ve had the Stealthbook for 2 days now, and I’m ready to give my first report. It’s heavier than I’d think from a device with no hard drive; I assume that giant battery is the reason for that. I unplugged it after giving it a full charge, and after one and a half nights of use, it claims to have 40% and just about 3 hours of battery life remaining. The claimed 8 hours of use seems likely to be true. The Flash plugin is flakier than a pie crust, and this illustrates some differences between ChromeOS and Chrome on Windows. If a plugin crashes in Windows Chrome, Chrome offers to restart it; ChromeOS doesn’t. If all else fails, you can close Chrome in Windows and restart it; since the browser is the OS on the Cr-48, restarting the browser requires logging out and logging back in. Since the login process takes only a couple seconds, the difference is minimal, although it does mean you have to type your password more.
Most web sites work just fine, including Youtube and LOLcats – although the Flash instability means that I may avoid them until a patch shows up. Just as with any other Atom-powered netbook, don’t expect to run any fun Flash games on the Cr-48; Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook is a slideshow. Netflix doesn’t work, as it needs Silverlight. That is one thing which needs to be addressed in order to make the Stealthbook a replacement for Kat’s netbook – she uses that thing for Netflix streaming, LOLcats, email and Facebook. I think a big question is the cost. Nobody has indicated how expensive these machines will be once they are actually for sale. You can buy a single-core netbook with integrated graphics for under 300 bucks. Bumping up to a dual core or adding decent graphics power moves the Windows netbook into the 500 dollar range, which is awfully close to real laptop territory. Even assuming the Microsoft tax is $100, it becomes hard to imagine the Chrome netbooks entering the market for under 200 and having anything like good performance. We’ll have to see what happens. I also didn’t understand the iPad, so marketers aren’t looking at me for guidance.