The GPD Pocket is a tiny laptop with a 7 inch display, a compact keyboard, and a case small enough to fold up and slide into a (fairly large) pocket. Over the past few years GPD and a series of rival companies have released similar mini PCs with more processing power and other upgrades, but the original GPD Pocket from 2017 is still learning new tricks thanks to independent developers.

Earlier this year Keith Myers announced that he was working on making a mini Chromebook by porting the open source version of Google’s Chrome OS to run on the 1st-gen GPD Pocket.

Now he’s released the first public preview of Chromium OS for the GPD Pocket 1.

Update: Two days later, there’s also a version that runs on the Pocket 2.

Myers notes that his goal was to bring a lightweight, secure operating system to the GPD Pocket, while offering strong performance and long battery life.

So far it looks like he’s largely met those goals. He says Chromium OS uses about 1/3rd as much disk space as Windows 10 when installed on the GPD Pocket. He says he’s seeing anywhere from 6 to 14 hours of battery life, depending on usage. And he says ChromiumOS runs smoothly on this little computer even though it has a low-power Intel Atom processor.

Other features include support for running Linux applications using Crostini, support for rolling updates so you get the latest features and security fixes, and support for customizing the operating system to use only the features you want.

Not sure you’re ready to replace Windows? There’s a live boot image, which means you can try the operating system without actually installing it.

That said, as of June 1st, 2019, there are still a few important features that aren’t working:

  • Audio isn’t working yet
  • Bluetooth doesn’t work yet
  • The system hangs at the ChromiumOS boot screen (but you can get past it by hitting the tab button repeatedly)
  • Screen brightness is not adjustable
  • The display rotation is incorrect on first boot.

Myers says most of those issues will be addressed in future builds of Chromium OS for the GPD Pocket 1. One thing that likely won’t be added is support for mounting Google Drive in the File Manager, since Google’s method for doing that is not open source. But he notes that there are third-party apps which can add similar functionality.

You can read the latest details about what is and isn’t working at the project page, or visit github for the source code.

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11 replies on “The littlest Chromebook: GPD Pocket gets an unofficial ChromiumOS port”

  1. Surprised he didn’t do it on the Pocket 2. I think more things would have worked .

    1. I just caved and ordered one 0-0, I should have a build out for the pocket 2 this week

  2. Would be interesting to get ChromeOS on the One Mix Yoga depending if the Android apps could run well.

    1. Props to the person working on this though! Never thought about ChromeOS on one of these mini-laptops/netbooks/UMPCs till now but I’d be keen to try it.

      1. Heck, I’d love to run it on my watercooled RTX kaiju at home. [1] It’s one of the fastest, tightest, most efficient Linuxes there is. [2] Native Android apps are fully integrated like any other program. [3] Big, flexible, monolithic “real” Linux when you need it.

        How many reboots do I perform per day to switch between OSes, you ask? How many virtualization apps do I need to launch? Why, none! 🙂

        Google has the foundations of an incredibly compelling product, for the big and small, for anyone who likes ideas that make sense.

        Now here’s one that doesn’t make sense at all: Chrome OS is one of Google’s most locked-down products *ever* (they do not make moving it or recompiling it easy), and Google insists on marketing it almost solely as “that dumb program that makes everyone’s $100 Walmart PCs work”.

        i hope they change their ways soon, because Chrome OS could be the most-used Linux-based distro in the world overnight. Instead of hacks that take weeks to get right, Google should just open it up for everyone.

        (I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I spent weeks making a platform more compatible/less broken in Chrome OS, and I have a shiny perfectly-running Pixel Slate. I’m rooting for Chrome, I just hope it stops being managed insanely, so that people can do fun projects like this more often.)

        1. Truth be told I have been messing around with a build for Ryzen7/RTX 2070 specifically setup for machine learning.

          ChromeOS is not as protected as one may think, it is actually a fork of ChromiumOS which is completely open source. I will admit that Google’s instructions to build it are lacking but I have written a guide that will allow anyone to build it with full OTA upgrade support. The only thing that you miss with ChromiumOS is Android support.

      2. Thanks, it is a work in progress, I released this preview to start gathering feedback to improve it. The feedback thus far has been positive with many users loving the speed. One user had issues watching YouTube on Windows at anything above 720p, they did not have the problem on my GPD build (just the lack of Audio support prevents them from switching just yet)

    2. I am working on more devices including the GPD Micro PC (when it ships) and the Pocket 2. I will of course add more if there are donations to help cover some of the costs (the build/OTA infrastructure is not the most inexpensive setup but built well)

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