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Chrome OS Flex is ready for prime time, now compatible with over 400 devices

Chrome logo on a Lenovo Chromebook
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Chrome OS Flex is now ready to deploy widely on old PCs and Macs.
  • Google says it has certified over 400 devices to be compatible with the software.
  • Thanks to an early access program that started earlier this year, the OS has also gained a bunch of improvements.

Google introduced a sustainable way of repurposing old PCs and Macs by announcing Chrome OS Flex earlier this year, though it was rough around the edges at the time. The software has since fixed a number of bugs and is now ready for wider deployment.

The search giant announced today that over 400 devices have been certified to be compatible with Chrome OS Flex, a cloud-first version of Chrome OS that keeps old hardware out of landfills. Google promises to add more devices onboard down the road.

This means businesses and schools that want to recycle their old machines will now be able to install Chrome OS Flex on a wider range of devices. Deployment is easy: all you need is a USB drive. You can also choose to replace your machine’s operating system. 

Alternatively, you can boot and run from the USB to check it out before installing Chrome OS Flex on your device. The software is available to install via this link (opens in new tab).

But managing your entire fleet can be a headache, so Google is offering Chrome Enterprise Upgrade to handle all of your eligible devices from the Google Admin console. The upgrade is not free, but there is a 30-day trial period. 

For the uninitiated, Chrome OS Flex is designed to put your old PCs and Macs to good use again by installing a version of Chrome OS on them. As Google puts it, the software is intended to "breathe new life into existing hardware to reduce e-waste and energy consumption." The experience is also comparable to that of many of the best Chromebooks

It was unveiled last February, during which Google also kicked off an early access program. With today's announcement, the company has addressed a number of issues that arose during the OS' early days.

Google also touts the energy efficiency gains the software has to offer. The tech behemoth says "Chrome OS Flex consumes 19% less energy on average than other operating systems." 

It demonstrated its proactive security features when a ransomware attack shut down Nordic Choice Hotels' operations earlier this year. Using Chrome OS Flex, the company was able to recover important data by converting 2,000 computers in 200 hotels across Scandinavia into Chrome OS machines in less than 48 hours.

Jay Bonggolto
Jay Bonggolto

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.