Chrome OS Flex is a new version of Google’s operating system for PCs. It has just been released and is designed to run on Windows or Mac personal computers.
Although it’s in beta and primarily aimed at businesses and schools that want to reclaim and maintain old PCs, it’s a promising development that may end up becoming a significant threat to Microsoft’s dominance of desktop computing.
When Google acquired Neverware, the company responsible for CloudReady software that allowed Chrome OS to be installed on any PC beyond Google’s own-brand hardware, speculation was sparked about the company’s future strategy to occupy a larger space in the PC ecosystem. Google didn’t clarify the actual goals of the Neverware purchase, but it was clear. White and bottled”.
Their engineers have been busy ever since, and the first result we see now. And while CloudReady offered much of the value of Chrome OS, the feel of a native operating system, some key features, and official support from the Internet giant were still missing. “We have worked hard to integrate the benefits of CloudReady in a new version of Chrome OS,” they explain from Google.
Chrome OS Flex fills in the gaps in CloudReady, starting with Chrome Browser integration. Features like geolocation, which were handled differently in CloudReady’s Chromium browser, will now be dealt with the same way Chrome does on a Chromebook. Another important feature is support for Google Assistant and Family Link accounts.
It also includes Phone Hub, which offers complete synchronization with Android devices, to access the last tabs opened on the mobile, see its battery level, the strength of the wireless connection, or receive notifications from chat applications. Although it is not a priority due to the system approach, it is expected to add the ability to run Android apps shortly.
And that’s because Chrome OS Flex, when fully developed, will look, feel and work the same way Chrome OS does on a Chromebook. It is created under the same code base (Linux kernel and Chromium OS), will follow the same release cadence, and have the corresponding version, quality, and security updates.
The operating system is entirely free for anyone and can be installed “in a matter of minutes” on any PC, although some of its functions may depend on the hardware used. It can also be run from an external USB drive in ‘Live’ mode without touching the installed operating system. You have more information and access to the download in Chrome Enterprise.