Chrome OS Flex from Google can now be used on old PCs and Macs.
Chrome OS can now be put on hardware that businesses and schools already have.
Today, Google is releasing Chrome OS Flex, a new version of Chrome OS that can run on old PCs and Macs and is made for businesses and schools. Early this year, Google started testing Chrome OS Flex with an early access preview. The company has since fixed 600 bugs and is now releasing Flex to businesses and schools.
Chrome OS Flex is mostly made for businesses that use old Windows PCs. Google has tested and approved devices from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Toshiba, and many more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Flex will even work on some 10-year-old MacBooks and other old Macs.
Chrome OS Flex’s biggest selling point is that it works with old hardware. This means that businesses don’t have to get rid of their old hardware to get the newest operating system. Chrome OS Flex is certified to work on more than 400 devices, and all you need to do to set it up is a USB drive.
Thomas Riedl, Google’s director of product, enterprise, and education, says, “We’re working on more certifications every day, but even if your device isn’t certified yet, you can still try Chrome OS Flex.” On devices that aren’t officially supported, you might run into some minor problems, instability, or boot problems.
Google bought Neverware, which used to sell a program called CloudReady that let people turn old PCs into Chrome OS systems. This made Chrome OS Flex possible. It comes less than a year after Microsoft released Windows 11, which has strict hardware requirements that will leave millions of older PCs behind.
Google is trying to sell Chrome OS Flex to businesses and schools that want to update and simplify their IT systems or make them safer and easier to manage. It’s even a good flex for businesses that want to be more environmentally friendly since it lets some organizations cut down on e-waste and energy use.
But Chrome OS Flex is likely to be the biggest draw because it is a solution to the growing threat of ransomware. This is especially true for businesses that have been hit by ransomware and are willing to switch away from Windows. Chrome OS is much more secure than Windows, which makes it harder for hackers to get in.
In December, ransomware was used to attack Nordic Choice Hotels, which shut down all of its 200 hotels in Scandinavia. The hotel’s computers were locked down by the Conti ransomware, which the US government has been working hard to stop. As a way to be more environmentally friendly, the hotel chain was thinking about switching to Chrome OS. In less than 48 hours, they were able to switch their 2,000 Windows machines over to Chrome OS Flex. Employees were given USB keys with a one-page document on how to do the upgrade.
Not every business or school will find it easy to switch to Chrome OS Flex, especially if they use Windows apps and systems that were made for Windows. Virtualization software like Cameyo helps, but Microsoft has been the leader in PCs for more than 30 years, so there are dependencies that virtualization alone can’t always solve. Using only a cloud-based OS has its downsides, as we saw last year with two bad Chrome OS updates that locked some people out of their Chromebooks and slowed down others.
Chromebooks have shown the world that there is a strong alternative to Windows. This is especially true in education, where Chromebooks have helped it grow. Chrome OS Flex is another option for people who don’t want to use Windows anymore.
Amazon Astro is a home robot that will cost $1499.99 when it goes on sale. Right now, you can pay $1,000 to get an invite to test it. It’s mostly a mobile camera for home security, but it’s also an Alexa smart speaker on wheels. Even though it’s an interesting idea, this robot can’t do much because it doesn’t have any arms.