Chromebooks are built to last. In fact, it is one of their biggest selling points today. Thanks to constant updates from Google, a Chromebook you buy today could last you many years to come. However, when even some of the best Chromebooks actually receive the end of life treatment from Google actually appears a little murkier when you take a closer look.
The official statement from Google today is that all Chromebooks are guaranteed for five years from their release. Read that again. Five years from their RELEASE. That means if you buy a Chromebook that was released two years ago you are only guaranteed three years of support.
Google even has an official chart that shows when Chromebooks will be put out to pasture. You can find it here. However, the reality isn’t quite so cut and dry as this chart has it appear.
Currently, only two Chromebooks have received an official end of life from Google – the Samsung Series 5 and the CR-48 prototype from 2010. Acer’s AC700, is set to go obsolete this month. However, in practice this isn’t always the case. Google has even stated that those dates are cut and dry and some devices could continue to receive updates while others do not. In fact, you could be using a Chromebook right now that is already getting past its expiry date and you don’t even know it.
Still, many believe that five years isn’t long enough. Even Microsoft usually offers ten years of updates and support for their operating systems. The fact is many people keep their devices for longer than ten years. It gets even worse when you look at Chromebooks. Chromebooks have been a big hit in the educational system, a system that is known for its tight budgets and slowness to upgrade.
That makes the five year market rather problematic. After all, security is a big concern for Google and one of the great benefits of a Chromebook, as they remain secure with regular updates. But what if your school can no longer update their end of life Chromebook anymore? What are they supposed to do? It’s not always easy for them to simply pony up the money for a replacement.
For Google’s part, they do state that security is “one of the key tenets of Chrome OS,” and that the company is “working with our partners to update our policies so that we’re able to extend security patches and updates beyond a device’s EOL date.”
However, that is a rather abstract statement. It doesn’t give anyone any type of reassurance that their device will continue to be viable after it has reached its end of life date. That uncertainty can be a cause for concern. Sure for consumers it is more of an annoyance than anything. But for businesses and educational systems it simple isn’t good enough, and Google needs to clear the air and let their customers know what the policy will be.
What do you think? Should Google extend the life of Chromebooks or should they continue on the path that they are on today? Let me know what you think in the comments below.