Google announced a new version of its Android-based Chrome OS that will supposedly work with any PC and Mac with less capable components.
Since modern desktop apps and games now require more capable hardware, older computers are no longer useful to many people. However, this might change today thanks to Google’s announcement of a new version of its popular desktop platform Chrome OS.
Chrome OS Flex is a free-to-download product
According to a story by PCMag, Google announced a Chrome OS version it calls Flex. As per the company’s words, schools and businesses, probably small ones, are the advertised target for this new update.
After listing the names of currently compatible devices, Google also revealed that a stable update would arrive soon for Flex beta and CloudReady users. Unlike the vanilla Chrome OS, this version will run natively without needing extra steps and software on PC and Mac.
Since this OS is specifically developed to bring new life to older machines, Google, quite unsurprisingly, made it free and available for anyone to download. Given that most people aren’t willing to pay to repurpose their old and less capable computers, this decision from the company is debatably the right one.
What are Google’s reasons?
According to the same story, Google had disclosed the main reason behind this news. In detail, the company simply wants to help prevent wasting old computers by providing owners with a free yet modern and capable operating system.
Besides the company’s goal of reducing e-waste in the oceans and landfills, this new Chrome OS variant might also serve a different purpose. Instead of getting people to use its services solely on modern Chromebooks, Google can now monetize millions of machines just lying around dusty cabinets.
Even though the company had just announced the news this week, it has been planning about it for years now. As remembered, in 2020, it acquired Neverware, a tool that lets organizations turn old machines into Chrome devices.
Requirements and installation process of Chrome OS Flex
Regarding the technical details, Google said that the new Chrome OS Flex only needs at least 4GB of memory, 16GB storage with no information if it’s EMMC, SSD, or anything else, and any X86 architecture-based AMD or Intel CPU.
Based on Google’s release notes, this Chrome OS variant can be installed on PC and Macs like installing their original OS with standard USB flash drives. As such, after downloading and copying the file, users will then only need to hit certain key combinations to finish the process or use “network deployment” when installing for an organization.
According to the tech giant, Flex will boot up quickly and even update in the background without taking up significant resources. Also, since any IT staff or qualified personnel can install this OS, schools and organizations won’t have to risk privacy and security by asking third-party individuals to do the work.