It has no Ethernet port. No traditional hard drive. No installed programs or saved files. It features a stripped-down OS that's all but a browser. And it'll cost you $11,100.
At least on eBay, where the going price for Google's new limited-edition, Chrome OS-based Cr-48 notebook is in the five figures.
And don't think the seller is asking for too much. After three dozen bids, what began as a $0.01 item quickly shot to $500, and then $5000, and now $11,100. Heck, even the cool box the notebook shipped in is going for $99 on the auction site. Of course, Google saw this coming. When I spoke to a source recently at Google about the Chrome notebooks, it became apparent just how limited these laptops were: The company planned to ship just thousands of Cr-48s—brandless devices that represent Google's first foray into the industry and devices that will never, ever be sold at retail.
When I mentioned that some Cr-48s might end up on eBay in the future, my source thought Google had included a part in its terms and conditions against reselling the item. But the source clearly understood this outcome as a possibility, and hinted that Google wouldn't much care—there's only so much the company can do, the source explained, saying that Google didn't have an opinion on the matter one way or the other. (After all, how much could this possibly affect Google's bottom-line?)
Still, the eBay seller seems wary of consequences, and may be trying to avoid violating any terms and conditions.
"If you buy one of the Cr-48 Notebooks that pops up on eBay, you are in fact purchasing stolen property. Google had these laptops manufactured specifically to test out their new operating system, and shipped them to people who agreed to test them over the coming months. Anyone who is selling one this soon has in effect stolen said laptop from Google," the listing reads. "I do not have a Cr-48 for sale. If you bid on this auction, you are bidding on nothing. Do not bid unless you want to give me money for no reason."
Is this a similar strategy that scalpers used to take when hawking concert tickets online? They'd sell a Rolling Stones' album at an abnormally high price; the tickets to their world tour would come with the CD—wink, wink—for free. Or does this seller actually not have a Cr-48 to sell—is he or she really selling nothing for $11,100?
So if you're one of the lucky few to receive a Chrome notebook early, you might've just stumbled on a big payday, too. That is, if Google doesn't sick its legal team on you.
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