Google’s ‘Flexor’ Commit Hints at Exciting Possibilities for Chromebooks

By Tapan Barman 2 Min Read

Over the past year, Google has been under scrutiny for the Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date concerns surrounding Chromebooks. However, a recent development suggests that Google might be on the brink of something significant. A Chromium Gerrit commit, uncovered by Chrome Unboxed, hints at an exciting possibility for the Chromebook ecosystem.

ChromeOS, the operating system that powers the best Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, is known for its reliability. But Google has also been working on ChromeOS Flex, a sort of “spin-off” version that breathes new life into older laptops or computers. However, there’s been a significant caveat: you can’t install ChromeOS Flex on a Chromebook or Chromebox.

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(Image credit: Chromium Gerrit)

The recent Gerrit commit introduces a term, “Flexor,” which has piqued curiosity. While it’s still early to ascertain the full scope of this development, the commit includes an installation script that mentions adding a “thirteenth partition” to the disk, assuming that the ChromeOS partition layout was already established. During installation, a “Start flex-ing” welcome message appears.

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(Image credit: Chromium Gerrit)

What’s intriguing is that this new partition needs to be 10GB in size, raising the possibility that Google is working on enabling ChromeOS Flex for Chromebooks. Until now, creating a ChromeOS Flex USB installer required an 8GB thumb drive, while installing it on a computer demanded at least 16GB of storage.

In September 2023, Google extended the AUE dates for Chromebooks released since 2019, granting an additional two years of support. If Google continues to explore the “Flexor” commit, it opens up questions about the potential longevity of Chromebook support. Given Google’s commitment to providing seven years of OS updates for its Pixel 8 devices, a similar approach for Chromebooks seems plausible. The future holds the key to uncovering the true potential and potential limitations of this exciting development.

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