Google is updating its End of Life (EOL) policy for Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices. Now instead of offering a minimum of 4 years of software updates and support, Google will offer at least 5 years of support.
That clock starts ticking the day a new Chromebook or Chromebox is made available to commercial customers, so the Dell Chromebook 11 which launched this January, for instance, will receive official support from Google through at least January, 2019.
Google’s EOL policy applies to many devices that had already launched — for instance the Lenovo X131e Chromebook which had previously had an End of Life Date of February, 2017 is now supported through February, 2018.
I suspect most consumers who pick up a $200 Chromebook this year don’t really expect to still be using it in 2019. But the move makes sense when you look at commercial and non-profit organizations. Schools, businesses, and other institutions often buy new hardware in bulk and expect to hang onto it for a long time. After spending thousands of dollars on new laptop or desktop computers, they don’t want to be forced to upgrade too often.
At the same time, advances in hardware make it difficult for a company like Google to continue supporting old devices indefinitely while continuing to optimize their software for future generations of hardware.
Google’s EOL page promises support for Chrome OS for Enterprise and Education customers, Chromebox for meetings users, and for consumer devices.
Last time we looked at the Chrome OS EOL policy it seemed to only affect enterprise and education devices… but if Google’s going to be pushing software updates to the Acer C720 Chromebook for business customers until late 2018, there’s no reason for the company to withhold those updates from the general public.