Google Formally Launches ChromeOS Flex; Says Almost 300 Devices Certified
July 15, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Google has now formally launched ChromeOS Flex, positioning the cloud-centric operating system as a way to extend the life of existing PCs and Macs and also reduce energy consumption.
The tech giant says almost 300 devices have been certified to work on ChromeOS, with more on the way.
In the context of digital signage and pro AV applications, the Flex program opens up the ability to use ChromeOS on many more devices, and re-purpose devices already in the field – like PCs running Windows – as Chrome devices. Until now, building out a screen network based on ChromeOS meant using Chrome-specific devices – Chromeboxes and Chromebases (all-in-ones). Only a small handful of computer-makers, like Aopen and Asus, were producing Chrome-specific devices.
With Flex, a screen network now running on aging Windows boxes could likely be switched over to ChromeOS Flex – with a much leaner operating system not taxing the electronics the way Windows tends to do.
Google suggests the key attributes of ChromeOS Flex are:
- Proactive security: ChromeOS Flex provides much needed protection from growing threats, including ransomware, malware, and employee errors;
- Fast deployment & easy management: ChromeOS Flex can be rapidly deployed via USB or through your company network. With Chrome Enterprise Upgrade, you can manage apps and policies from anywhere;
- Fast, modern work experiences: Devices don’t slow down over time. Background updates reduce device downtime and improve productivity, so you can spend extra time relaxing;
- Sustainable for your business and planet: Breathe new life into existing hardware to reduce e-waste and energy consumption.
A Google blog post notes how a Scandinavian hotel chain switched operating systems when it was hit by a ransomware attack, which shut down operations.
When a ransomware attack shut down operations, Nordic Choice Hotels chose ChromeOS Flex to quickly replace the OS on compromised devices and get them back online. ChromeOS Flex enabled Nordic Choice Hotels to turn a disaster into an upgrade. With a one-page guide and a USB drive, employees across 200 Nordic Choice hotels in Scandinavia were able to convert 2,000 computers in under 48 hours, protecting their business from a costly shutdown.
And by switching to ChromeOS Flex, Nordic Choice Hotels will save up to 1.5 million kilos of CO2 over the next eight years – the equivalent of what 2,000 acres of mature forest would save. It may have taken only a few days to save their business, but the positive environmental effects of ChromeOS Flex will last for years to come.
Deployment of ChromeOS Flex really saved us. When you have a stable, safe, and no-hassle operating system at the hotels, that really, really affects our employees, and of course the guests as well,” says Bjørn Arild Wisth, the hotel chain’s Deputy CEO.
Peter Critchley, of Trison UK, did an excellent guest post last month that dug deep into why he thinks the emergence of Flex is a big deal.
Among his reasons for being enthused – the ability to steer clear of Windows, including cutting Windows-driven networks over to Chrome: “By installing Chrome OS Flex onto older PC or Mac devices, we are also able to extend the life of older networks significantly, and remove the additional overheads associated with Windows into the bargain.”
I checked the list of 295 certified devices, and it includes numerous Dell boxes and Intel NUCs, which have been widely used in signage. The list also notes support for Mac Minis.
I did a podcast recently with Naveen Viswanatha, Google’s product lead on Chrome OS.