Although Android’s and Chrome OS’ open source natures allow them to be reshaped and installed on a variety of devices, Google has never really endorsed or even encouraged putting them on anything other than smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, and a small number of boxes. Companies like Neverware have taken it upon themselves to make that happen, creating CloudReady OS, a version of Chrome OS that can be installed on a wide range of laptops, including older and unsupported Chromebooks. Now it seems that Google has acquired Neverware, opening the door to Chrome OS’ greater expansion, presuming Google allows it.
Chrome OS originally ran on hardware that, by today’s standards, would be considered almost antiquated. It’s understandable that some would like to run Google’s web-centric platform on older hardware that may even outperform those first-gen Chromebooks, especially the ones powered by weaker ARM chips. Unfortunately, just like on Android, Google has a specific process and system for “blessed” Chromebooks and it doesn’t exactly make it easy to install Chrome OS on anything else.
That’s where Neverware’s CloudReady OS comes in and it has definitely gotten Google’s attention, enough to make an investment in the company back in 2017. CloudReady OS, however, isn’t just about installing Chrome OS on older Windows laptops. It also offers a path for older Chromebooks that are no longer supported even if they’re still capable of running the latest Chrome OS.
Hopefully, Google also has that in mind when it acquired Neverware, though official confirmation about this deal seems to only be available on Neverware’s website. Google has boasted about the surge in sales of Chromebooks this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expanding Chrome OS’ reach could definitely help cement its place in education and business markets.
For now, Neverware says that nothing is changing regarding its business, including support contracts it has. Unfortunately, it also says that features are currently in their status quo, meaning no support yet for Google Play Store Android apps. The company says that CloudReady will eventually become an official Chrome OS offering but doesn’t exactly explain what that means.