Google rolled out the ChromeOS Flex, previously CloudReady, as an early access preview back in February 2022. Now, it has started providing the ChromeOS Flex stable version 103 for the masses.
Google acquired CloudReady in December 2020 and later introduced it as ChromeOS Flex. The idea of this operating system is to bring the old Windows and Mac computers/laptops to Chrome OS. The ChromeOS Flex comes with features found on ChromeOS, such as a Chrome browser, UI, cross-device integrations with Android, cloud sync, Instant Tethering, Nearby Sharing and Google Assistant. It even shares the same code base, read-only OS, tab/application-level sandboxing, background system updates, and seconds-long boot time with Google ChromeOS.
Having said that, the ChromeOS Flex misses out on the Android apps and the Play Store, found on the regular Chrome OS. The ChromeOS Flex can be installed through a USB device or via a network. It will boot directly so that you can try it first before taking the plunge. The operating system works with Intel or AMD x86 computers running Windows and macOS. It doesn’t support ARM architecture yet.
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Google has listed over 400 devices from different OEMs that it has certified to be working with the ChromeOS Flex. This means that all the important components of your PC or laptop such as display, speakers, USB, webcam, optical drives, networking etc. will function efficiently. The company says that even 10-year-old devices will function normally with its OS. If your device isn’t on the list, you can still try running it with minor bugs.
Here are the minimum hardware requirements to run ChromeOS Flex:
- Architecture: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit compatible device
- RAM: 4 GB
- Internal storage: 16 GB
- Bootable from a USB drive
- BIOS: Full administrator access. You’ll need to boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some adjustments in the BIOS if you run into issues.
- Processor and graphics: Components made before 2010 might result in a poor experience.
- Note: Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 graphics hardware do not meet Chrome OS Flex performance standards
ChromeOS Flex can be installed for free by following these instructions. Enterprise users will need to pay for Chrome Enterprise or Education Upgrades to get fleet management and support. Meanwhile, existing users of CloudReady will be upgraded to ChromeOS Flex.