New Chromebooks come with a guarantee from Google of regular automatic updates for Chrome OS, but only for 6.5 years, and only for the underlying hardware platform. However, some Chromebooks are having their life extended by three years.
Purchasing a Chromebook may be cheaper than a laptop, but it will have an end-of-life date built in due to Google’s Auto Update Expiration (AUE) 6.5 year time limit. Chromebooks will continue to work after their AUE, but won’t get updates anymore or receive technical support. If you purchase a Chromebook the day it laucnhes then you get updates for 6.5 years, however, buying an older model means you may only get two or three years of updates.
What makes the situation more complicated is the fact Google attaches the AUE to the hardware platform rather than individual Chromebooks. So if a manufacturer uses Chromebook hardware that’s a couple of years old in a new Chromebook, the AUE will be two years shorter. Google even advises manufacturers to always choose the newest platform so as to ensure the longest support.
As Chrome Unboxed reports, some Chromebooks now have a life extension courtesy of Google. There’s eight in total, all except one are made by Lenovo. They include:
- Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook
- Lenovo 100e Chromebook 2nd Gen MTK
- Lenovo N23 Yoga Chromebook
- Lenovo 300e Chromebook
- Lenovo 300e Chromebook 2nd Gen MTK
- Lenovo Ideapad S330 Chromebook
- Lenovo Ideapad C330 Chromebook
- Poin2 Chromebook 14
All eight Chromebooks were due to reach their AUE in June, 2022, but Google has extended the date so they will now continue to receive updates to June, 2025. The one caveat to continued support being that it relies on third-party component suppliers continuing to work with Google to support the devices for the next five years.
With the extended support in place, it makes these Chromebooks look a lot more attractive for anyone after a cheap, internet-focused laptop. For example, the Lenovo S330 is a 14-inch 1080p Chromebook with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for just $ 269.
We can only hope that this limited extension turns into a more general extension of the AUE for all hardware platforms. If Google could extend support to 10 years, then all Chromebooks would be much better value for money, even if you are buying a model that’s a couple of years old.