Anyone who has spent any time around the Chrome OS ecosystem is likely familiar with a little product known as Cloud Ready. For nearly a decade, Neverware has worked diligently to bring the Chrome OS experience to aged out Windows and macOS hardware. For countless educational institutions, enterprises, and home users, Cloudready’s custom Chromium OS build means massive cost-savings thanks to the extended life of hardware that otherwise would be obsolete.
Cloudready OS offers most of the great features that we love about Chrome OS but it still has its limitations. Not least of which is the fact that it has never been “official” support by Google. That’s not to say that Google doesn’t support Neverware’s efforts. As a matter of fact, Google jumped on the investor bandwagon back in 2017 as the lead investor toward Neverware’s Series B round of investments to aid the company in furthering its development of the platform. That is exactly why today’s announcement comes as no surprise to us or many Chromebook users.
Neverware is now part of Google
The announcement was rolled out somewhat quietly in a blog post from Neverware and we’ve yet to see any official word from Google. That said, Neverware has officially spilled the beans that Google has acquired the company along with the Cloudready platform. There isn’t much to glean from the post at this point apart from some Q&A that gives customers a short-term roadmap of what to expect from Cloudready OS in the future.
We’re pleased to share some very exciting news: Neverware and CloudReady are now officially part of Google and the Chrome OS team! We’re looking forward to sharing more details with all our CloudReady customers, users, and fans in the coming weeks and months, but for now, please review the following for answers to some of your anticipated questions:Neverware Blog
As it sits, Cloudready users can already leverage the Google Admin Console to manage devices that use the OS. For the most part, Cloudready looks and works very much the same as Chrome OS when installed on a PC. However, because of licensing and other technicalities, Cloudready does not support Android apps via the Play Store and Neverware has always stated that this feature was not on the road map for Cloudready. Support for Linux apps was added to Cloudready earlier this year and I’m sure that addition was welcome by many enterprise clients.
Why it matters
Google acquiring Neverware honestly makes sense at this point but I think the implications here are much larger than they may appear at first glance. With Neverware now being part of the Chrome OS development team, this opens the door for official support of not only Android apps on Cloudready but direct support and development from the keeper of Chrome OS. That, of course, being Google. Google has already extended the life of newer Chrome OS devices to eight years or more and now, Workspace customers could see massive financial and IT benefits by turning fleets of aging PCs and macs into Cloudready machines that fully support everything that comes with Chrome OS.
Imagine a larger school district that has 20,000 outdated Windows PCs that are earmarked for the landfill. These devices could see new life with Cloudready while getting support and management directly from Google with no third-party hands in the mix. This could save hundreds of thousands of dollars over a very short period of time and that means resources that can be used elsewhere. We’re reaching out to Neverware and Google for more information so that we can get an idea of what the future of Cloudready OS may look like. In the meantime, you can find the FAQ and the announcement here.