Google today launched Chrome OS Flex the early version of a brand new initiative that will provide Chrome OS to virtually any PC (and older Intel-based Macs). It is built on top of CloudReady which Google bought at the end of 2020. Chrome OS Flex is designed for educational and enterprise users who wish to extend the lifespan of their existing devices, however anyone with access to an USB drive can benefit from it to give an older computer — or the latest one with a lower power sourcean opportunity to breathe new life. There’s an obvious environmental aspect to this.
The intention is to provide the complete Chrome operating system experience on any PC. At present, this may however not happen considering the endless number of configurations for PCs. Google has released an inventory of certified devices (mostly laptops) however, chances are other models will also work -trying it out for an attempt isn’t the same as trying an updated Linux distribution that Chrome OS is obviously based on.
Thomas Riedl, Google’s director of product management for Chrome OS, noted that the installation experience could be slightly difficult for users who have to enter their BIOS to configure the machine to boot from the USB drive.
Chrome OS and Chrome OS as well as Chrome OS Flex use the same base of code and follow the same release cycle. For users, both systems should appear and feel identical. Google is clear, however that this is an early version and that users shouldn’t be expecting that everything will work flawlessly immediately.
What’s the deal with Android apps Do you have any questions? According to an Google spokesperson explained to me that the team is working to make the user experience as good as it is possible, however it doesn’t intend to support the Google Play Store and Android Apps to Chrome OS Flex. “But of course, we’re continually evaluating how to improve Chrome OS Flex for the future,” the spokesperson explained.
If you’re using a current Mac or MacBook chances are that you’re out of luck because Apple’s hardware is proprietary, making it almost impossible to install an Linux distribution on these devices particularly the more recent M1 devices. The majority of pre-2016 models should be able to work, however. If you have an old white MacBook that’s lying around, perhaps this is the right best time to clean it.
As it’s built in the same way as CloudReady It also has an enterprise-oriented component. The usual IT management tools that apply to Chrome OS also apply to Chrome OS Flex. Enterprises also have the option of applying the Chrome OS licensing to Chrome OS Flex equipment (while earlier, CloudReady had a different licensing structure).
Forrest Smith, the former director of Product at CloudReady maker Neverware and currently the product manager of CloudReady at Google I spoke to him about at some point in 2016, businesses began to adopt the idea of using the service to prolong the life of devices.
“There were a lot of people who wanted to get an extra 12 months of life out of devices — and they were willing to make really any trade,” I was told by him. “And most importantly during that 2015, 2016 and 2017 region, the tide changed to consumers becoming a part of the Chrome OS platform and people reaching out to us saying”I’m unable to get enough Chromebooks as I’d like. ‘”
“The thing that is really exciting to me is that we have managed to take what was really an interesting but standalone solution with CloudReady and their management offering and integrated it seamlessly now,” Riedl explained. “So this Chrome OS Flex devices even though they used Windows in the past or Mac or Mac appear on the administrator console which is a single piece of glass that manages the entire range of devices, whether it’s the Chromebook or Chromebox or an Flex device. This makes life a lot simpler for administrators.”