What you need to know
- Google will now support some Chromebooks for up to 9 years.
- The company had raised the support ceiling from 6 years to 8 years after criticism.
- Google has also started working on a way to keep out of support Chromebooks secure with its LaCros project.
Google is working on improving one of the most annoying decisions it made with Chromebooks — a limited software support lifecycle. Previously, Chromebooks would be supported for 5 years from launch of the hardware platform they ran on. This meant that most Chromebooks fell out of support within two or three years of being purchased in practice. Google extended it to six, and then later started guaranteeing up to eight years for select models. Now, Google has started offering a further year's worth of support starting with HP Pro c645 Chromebook Enterprise and the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook Enterprise (via Android Police.) Both devices will recieve updates through June 2029.
While some argue that your typical low-end Chromebook would quickly become unusable within four or five years, the problem had always been that the support lifecycle was tied to the launch date of the hardware platform that powered the laptop and not the laptop itself. This meant that all Broadwell-powered Chromebooks would go off at the same time, so whether your OEM launched the HP Chromebook whatever on day one, or day 500 or the platform's existence, it would expire at the same time.
Google's finally taken some other concrete steps to fix this. It's been working on the LacCros project, one that'll allow out of date Chromebooks to run an up to date version of Chrome. Coupled with the company's continued extension of supported lifecycles, its clear Google's trying to fix this from multiple angles.