The challenge with Chromebooks lies in their update timeline, which traditionally begins after Google certifies a device, not when it hits the market. Consequently, purchasers of Chromebooks typically receive around 4-5 years of updates. However, Google’s recent announcement states that, commencing in 2024, Chromebooks will receive a generous 10-year span of security updates. This extended support will automatically apply to ChromeOS-driven devices released in 2021 or later, while older models will have the option to enable this feature.
To provide context, Google currently offers up to 8 years of security updates for Chromebooks, but this period commences upon device certification rather than market availability. This often translates to a reduced effective update duration, as users wait for schools or businesses to purchase and deploy the devices, leaving them with just 4-5 years of functional use before becoming obsolete.
In addition to the prolonged security updates, Google is streamlining the Chromebook repair process. Their ‘Chromebook Repair Program’ aims to accelerate software-based repairs by nearly 50% and eliminate the need for a physical USB key. Furthermore, Google is introducing an “Adaptive Charge” feature to preserve battery health and a new “Energy Saver” mode.
A recent report by the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, titled ‘Chromebook Churn,’ emphasized the need for extending Chromebook software expiration dates, as these devices often become unusable a few years after organizations purchase them, contributing to electronic waste.
Google asserts that its commitment to 10 years of security updates surpasses the offerings of other tech giants like Microsoft and Apple. While macOS typically receives support for three years, Windows is commonly supported for a decade. Speculation has also arisen this month suggesting that Apple may be developing an affordable MacBook lineup to challenge Chromebook’s dominance in the education sector.