Google is working to push back the expiration date of Chromebooks, addressing concerns held by administrators that the laptops are too short-lived to be cost effective, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Alphabet-owned company – which developed the Chrome operating system running on computers made mostly by others – said Thursday it plans to provide software updates for Chromebooks for up to a decade. The new policy, which starts next year, ensures that no Chromebook will expire within the next two years.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Chromebooks are ubiquitous in classrooms around the country, but some education software doesn’t work after what Google calls the Auto Update Expiration date. Unsupported Chromebooks can’t be used for mandatory state testing, even if the hardware still appears to be functional.
When the laptops expire, school districts recycle them, sometimes at a cost, and spend millions of dollars on replacements.
Google posted the following information on The Keyword blog. From the blog post:
When Chromebooks debuted in 2012, their affordable price tags helped make personal computing more accessible. That also made them a great fit for the education world, providing schools with secure, simple and manageable devices while helping them save on their budgets. In fact, Chromebooks are the number one device used in K-12 education globally, according to Futuresource. Plus, they’re a sustainable choice, with recycled materials that reduce their environmental impact and repair programs that help them last longer.
Today, we are announcing new ways to keep your Chromebooks up and running even longer. All Chromebooks will get regular automatic updates for 10 years – more than any other operating system commits to today. We’re also working with partners to build Chromebooks with more post-consumer recycled materials (PCR), and rolling out new power-efficient features and quicker processes to repair them. At the end of their usefulness, we continue to help schools, businesses, and everyday users find the right recycling option…
…Security is our number one priority. Chromebooks get automatic updates every four weeks that make your laptop more secure and help it last longer. And starting next year, we’re extending those automatic updates so your Chromebook gets enhanced security, stability and features for 10 years after the platform was released…
…Starting in 2024, if you have Chromebooks that were released from 2021 onwards, you’ll automatically get 10 years of updates. For Chromebooks released before 2001 and already in use, users and IT admins will have the option to extend automatic updates to 10 years from the platform’s release (after they receive their last automatic update)…
ArsTechnica reported that ten years of support is a notable achievement for Chromebooks, which are often budget-priced. The average Mac receives seven years of macOS updates. Windows, meanwhile, usually sees 10 years of updates, but you can install Windows (and update it) on devices form as long ago as the late 2000s.
Chromebooks are unique in individual models having automatic update expiration (AUE) dates and have faced criticism for this for years.
In my opinion, Google’s decision to grant 10 years of updates on Chromebooks that were released from 2021 onwards, is a great idea. It means that schools won’t have to spend money they don’t have on replacing Chromebooks that gone past their repair dates.