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.
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.