Based on the six months I've spent with Chrome OS via the Cr-48 test unit, I can tell you that I've found the operating system to be a useful addition to my computing arsenal. I couldn't see myself transitioning to a Chromebook as my primary PC right now -- it's just too challenging to get through my day-to-day work in that strictly browser-based environment, and the Web apps don't do everything I need the way I want it done. I could definitely see myself enjoying a Chromebook as a supplementary PC, particularly for quick tasks and on-the-road use.
Once Google finishes filling in the gaps -- building out the file manager and adding offline support for its core apps, for instance -- I think the Chromebooks will offer an intriguing option for people who like the concept of living in the cloud and the perks that accompany that lifestyle. Chromebooks won't be right for everyone, but for some users, they'll be a welcome change from the tethered-down and often bloated world of traditional PCs.
If you consider yourself a potential cloud dweller, the question ultimately becomes whether the experience is worth $350 to $500 when that same cash can get you a decent Windows 7 laptop with all the bells and whistles. In the end, it all comes down to what you want your notebook to do -- and that's a question only you can answer.
JR Raphael is a syndicated writer and the author of Computerworld's Android Power blog.