Interesting development with today’s Chrome OS dev update: for the first time in the history of the Chrome OS project, Google’s own CR-48 reference device is not receiving the latest version of their experimental operating system. From the release announcement:
The Dev channel has been updated to 19.0.1055.3 (Platform version: 1861.3.0) for Chromebooks (Acer AC700, and Samsung Series 5). Highlights:
- Introducing new full-screen video and audio player
- New file formats supported: rar, tar, tar.gz, and tar.bz2
- Combined settings pages (still under development)
Addressing the concerns of the community on the “Chromebook Central” Google Group, community manager Melissa Daniels had the following to say about this rather high-profile omission:
Hi all, We’ll be skipping the Chrome 19 update for CR-48 users due to platform considerations. To be clear, we’re still committed to supporting CR-48 devices. Samsung Series 5 and Acer AC700 Chromebooks will receive R19 and we’ll bring CR-48 devices back onto the release train after R19. In the meantime, CR-48s will continue to receive security and critical updates as necessary.
-Melissa and The Chrome Team
Despite Melissa’s assurances that Google is committed to supporting the CR-48, it’s not hard to figure out what “platform considerations” means. With the next generation of Chromebooks slated to hit store shelves in the near future, it’s not much of a surprise that the oldest and easily worst performing of the Chromebooks would be put out to pasture. Reading the changelog for version 19.0.1055.3 shows no major additions or enhancements, which would seem to indicate that leaving the CR-48 off of the list wasn’t due to limitations in the hardware itself, but rather a lack of interest. From this point forward, it may become the norm for the CR-48 to receive only occasional updates to the main dev branch, while the newer Chromebooks see the semi-weekly dev channel updates that Chrome OS users are used to. At the end of the day, the CR-48 was an experiment which Google provided free of charge to a relatively few lucky individuals. If Google is indeed winding down support for the original Chromebook to focus on development of the next generation of devices, there is really no room to complain. As a CR-48 owner myself, I say it’s time to bury this one in the backyard.