Back in late 2010, Google announced a "Chromebook"—a low-cost, entry-level netbook that would run Google's own operating system, ChromeOS. Google's vision of ChromeOS, although based on Linux, basically would be a giant Web browser, with all the apps on the machine running in the browser. ChromeOS would be a nearly stateless computer, with all the user's apps based in Google's cloud, running the Google Apps suite.
Google's first stab at this was the CR-48: an Intel Atom-powered netbook with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of Flash. The CR-48 wasn't a powerhouse by any means, but it had a couple cool things going for it. First, it came with 100MB of free 3G service a month. Second, it had a "developer mode" that allowed users to break free of the strict Chrome-based browser jail and expose the chewy Linux center. A CR-48 in developer mode became a usable machine for a lot of people, because the machine pretty much became a small Linux laptop.