After purchasing CloudReady developer Neverware in December 2020, Google have officially announced that CloudReady is becoming Chrome OS flex and has launched in Early Access today. The new offering will be officially supported by Google and freely available to consumers.

The new version of Chrome OS integrates “the benefits of CloudReady into a new version of Chrome OS”. Available features include the Chrome browser, Nearby Sharing, cross-device functions with android, cloud sync, and Google Assistant as well as Family Link and Smart Lock. Newer devices may support Linux but there are no plans to add Play Store support to Chrome OS.

The Minimum Specifications are below:

  • Minimum device requirements:

    • Architecture: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit compatible device
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • Internal storage: 16 GB
    • Bootable from 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.

Much like many Linux distros today, Chrome OS Flex can be tried from a USB Stick first before being fully installed on someone’s device which would allow users to make sure that they are sure they want to go ahead with installing the operating system. It works on any Intel or AMD Mac or Windows PC, but it doesn’t support ARM meaning that users of Apple Silicon devices are left out for now.

Chrome OS Flex is available in Early Access today in the dev channel. A stable version will be released in the future and CloudReady users will be able to upgrade when it is released.