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It seems like only a short time ago Google announced the pilot program for the CR-48 notebook computer; the first consumer device to ever be made available for the general public.  For those of you who don’t remember, Google announced in early December that the progress in the highly anticipated Chrome OS had finally gotten to the point that the operating system was finally at a point where it could be used in more real-life situations.  However, instead of simply asking users to install Chrome OS on their existing computers, Google opted to send out notebook computers sporting the promising operating system to a lucky 60,000 participants.

Now, three months later, it has now become apparent that all of the CR-48 test devices have been sent out, and anyone that was supposed to receive one has already gotten their hands on it by now.

You see, a gentleman named Jeff Palmer (@palmjeff) recently sent a tweet (seen below) asking Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) – Google’s vice president of product management – if those who signed up to become a pilot tester still had a chance at receiving a CR-48 notebook if they hadn’t already.

@sundarpichai Is there hope for us that applied to the CR-48 program but have yet to receive one? Are there more units shipping? Thanks!

In reply to this tweet, Mr. Pichai replied that all of the Chrome OS notebooks had already been sent out;

@palmjeff Sorry we have shipped all units for now. Thanks for your interest and we will have partner devices out mid-year.

For those of you who are wondering, the “partner devices” that Pichai is referring to are devices that will be given away as part of a Chrome Web Store promotion that Google announced in January.  This promotion, which is being sponsored by a handful of Chrome application developers, is allowing for users to become eligible to receive a Chrome notebook (from the second batch) simply by using and adapting to cloud-based applications and services.

Personally, I find it very intriguing that Sundar Pichai states that the partner devices will be shipped out mid-year.  Having said this, a “mid-year” release would mean that new Chrome notebooks would be sent out approximately six months after the initial announcement and release of the CR-48.  Do you think that a company like Google would wait to send out a product that has already been out in the open for a number of months?  I highly doubt it.

With that in mind, Pichai’s statement leads to the speculation that the “partner devices” (note how he does not refer to them as CR-48’s) will be an improvement from what we are currently seeing with the CR-48.  What exactly will we see, though?  Only time will tell.

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