ChromeOS Flex for Digital Signage

What is ChromeOS Flex?

ChromeOS Flex is an exciting new operating system for Macs, Linux devices, and PCs. ChromeOS Flex was designed to make older devices faster and more secure.

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Why is ChromeOS Flex important for digital signage customers?

Many customers have older devices, or even newer devices that aren’t compatible with certain digital signage softwares. ChromeOS Flex allows these customers to enroll devices in the Google admin console, and lock them down in kiosk mode. Kiosk mode makes digital signs tamper proof and secure. Flex also allows users to control updates, and enables digital signage software to work with the operating system seamlessly.

What devices are ChromeOS Flex compatible?

Google is constantly adding to the list of ChromeOS Flex certified devices. One example is the AOPEN Ace Mini, which we recently reviewed. View the full list of ChromeOS Flex certified devices HERE. This list will indicate whether a device is certified, if minor issues are expected, or if major issues are expected.

Flex works on most Windows, Mac, and Linux devices made over the last 10 years. For every certified model the following actions are guaranteed to work:

  • Audio input, at least one method
  • Audio output, at least one method
  • Internal display, if present
  • Video output
  • Installation
  • Network—Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or both, if present
  • Touchpad, if present
  • Keyboard
  • Sleep and resume
  • System UI and graphics
  • USB
  • Webcam, if present

These actions are not guaranteed to work:

  • Automatic screen rotation
  • Bluetooth
  • Keyboard shortcuts and function keys, such as brightness and volume
  • Touchscreens
  • SD card slots

What about devices that aren’t on the certified models list?

Flex might work with no issues on devices that aren’t already listed as certified models, but Google can’t guarantee that it will work properly between updates.

How do you install Flex?

Installing ChromeOS Flex is simple. First, you’ll need a USB drive to create a bootable version of Flex to try before installing. Next, install Flex to replace your current operating system. Finally, add Flex to other devices with a USB drive or through network deployment.

How is ChromeOS Flex different than ChromeOS?

  • Security
    • Verified boot and Google Security Chip: ChromeOS devices have a Google security chip built in. This security chip enables devices to use verified boot, a procedure which prevents devices from booting up if they are infected. Since Flex devices don’t have a Google Security Chip built in, verified boot is not available.
    • Firmware Updates: Flex devices do not automatically update BIOS or UEFI firmware as ChromesOS devices do.
  • Virtual Machines and Apps
    • Google Play and Android apps: Not supported on Flex.
    • Virtual Machines: Flex does not support running Windows virtual machines.
  • Performance
    • Some performance factors vary by model such as: Boot Speed, Battery Life, and Power Savings
  • Device Management
    • Zero-touch Enrollment: Not supported on Flex.
    • Forced re-enrollment: Not supported on Flex.
    • Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol: Supported on Flex.

View the FULL LIST of differences.

Best Practices for Deployment

  • Enable Secure Boot
  • Clear and Enable TPM
  • Restrict bootable media and BIOS or UEFI access
  • Only use official Flex Images

View the FULL LIST of Best Practices.

 

How to download device logs in Google Admin Console

An important feature for troubleshooting device issues, is the ability to remotely capture and download device logs for a specific device.

  1. After logging in to your Admin console, go to Devices > Chrome Devices and click a serial number to get into the individual device settings.
  2. On the left side of the screen you’ll see the option to Capture Logs. Click Capture Logs to begin the download.device logs for chrome devices for digital signage
  3. Once the capture is completed it will indicate the logs are ready for download from the Details Page. This is the page you should already be on.
  4. In order to download the logs, under the center info screens, look for the category  System activity and troubleshooting. It should be near the bottom.
  5. In this category you should see System logs, click the date listed underneath it to download the logs in a zip file.
  6. Email the device logs to support@arreya.com and we will analyze them for any issues.

 

Please visit Getting started with Chrome Device Management  for more information regarding Chrome Device Management.

How do I force Chrome device display resolution?

The Google Admin console allows you to force the resolution and display scale of the internal or external display output for Chrome devices. This may be useful for hardware that doesn’t properly negotiate resolution with the Chrome device. It could also be useful in certain cases where you want to use a lower resolution than what the display is capable of displaying.

  1. After logging in to your Google Admin console, go to the Device Management section.
  2. On the left hand side navigation menu, go to Chrome > Settings > Device to access device settings.google admin display resolution
  3. Select the appropriate Organizational Unit (OU) on the left hand side that you would like to apply the settings to.
  4. Under the Device Settings tab, scroll down, or search for the Display settings heading.display resolution
    Allow user changes Allow users to overwrite predefined display settings (recommended): This allows a user to override these settings in desktop mode.
    Do not allow user changes for predefined display settings: This will not allow these settings to be changed by a user
    External resolution Always use native resolution: Use the auto-detected resolution
    Use custom resolution:
    Select this option if you want to force the Chromebox to output at a specified resolution for all external monitors.
    External display width (in pixels) Desired custom resolution width in pixels
    External display height (in pixels) Desired custom resolution height in pixels
    External display scale (percentage) Set a custom external display scale percentage
    Internal display scale (percentage) Set a custom internal display scale percentage

 

Chrome OS device PWA Installation Instructions

This article will cover installing your Arreya Channel PWA on a Chrome OS device where that isn’t force installing the PWA by policy.

 

  1. On your Chrome OS device, open the Chrome browser.
  2. Navigate to your Arreya channel URL (https://*yourchannel*.arreya.com). You can also send your users a link sent via an email, social media, or other method instead of manual entry.Chrome OS Device PWA 
  3. At the top right of the address bar, click the [Install +] buttonChrome OS 
  4. The application can now be found in the application launcher accessible from the bottom taskbar. You can also right click the application icon and pin it to your taskbar.Progressive Web App for Digital Signage

 

PWA support has been supported in Chrome since version 39. Contact us to learn more about Chrome OS Device PWA.

 

Moving a Chrome Device to another Organizational Unit

An important feature of the Admin Console and Chrome Device Management is the ability to organize and move devices using the Organizational Unit structure.

  1. After logging in to your Admin console, go to Devices > Chrome Devices.
  2. Click the checkbox next to the device you wish to move.
  3. Click the Folder with an arrow in the upper right to bring up the Move device(s) dialog.  Highlight the OU you want to move it to and click on [MOVE] to move the device to that OU.

Please visit Getting started with Chrome Device Management  for more information regarding Chrome Device Management.