Google Announces Chrome OS Flex: The Chromebook Experience on PC and Mac

Google lifts the veil on Chrome OS Flex, a new version of its operating system which has the particularity of being installed on PCs and Macs. Until now, Chrome OS was all about Chromebooks.

Chrome OS Flex

With Chrome OS Flex, Google is targeting PCs and Macs

Chrome OS Flex is possible thanks to CloudReady, a system developed by Neverware, a company acquired by Google in 2020. Its goal was to turn old PCs and Macs into Chromebooks. Google has the same mentality today with Flex. A first version is available for download, but it is not yet stable. It will be necessary to wait in a few months before having the stable version.

The operating system will look like Chrome OS and the user experience will be more than similar. This is quite normal: the two systems rely on the same base for the code. This also makes it possible to have the same software monitoring with updates.

The Chrome OS Flex installation process can be done with a USB drive or over the network. This includes booting directly from a USB key to try it out without having to install it first (as with Linux distros). The operating system works with x86 PCs and Macs (Intel or AMD processor, but not ARM) that are about ten years old. It’s also free and deployment on several machines in the company will be possible, in particular thanks to Google Admin.

No Play Store or Android apps

There’s a downside at the moment: there’s no Play Store support, just like there’s no Android app support. Chrome OS offers both. Maybe that will come over time with the Flex version.

Instructions for installing Chrome OS Flex can be found on this page. As said before, this is a first version and there are bugs. The final version will not arrive for a few months, but Google does not give a precise release date.

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