The greatest long-term issue with Chromebooks is their fixed lifespan — unlike PCs, where operating system updates are not tied to specific devices, most Chromebooks only get between 5-6 years of updates. It started to look like Google was finally trying to change that last year, when the company gave most Chromebooks another year of software support, and now Google says at least some Chromebooks released this year will get eight years of updates.
"Devices launching in 2020 and beyond will receive automatic updates for even longer," Google wrote in a blog post. "The new Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet and Acer Chromebook 712 will both receive automatic updates until June 2028." It's not explicitly clear if the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and Asus Chromebook Flip C436 will get the full eight years, though they appear to use completely-new hardware platforms, so I would assume they are included.
While it's annoying to see that Chromebooks still have an expiry date (thanks to Google never updating the Linux kernel for each device), eight years is getting close to the maximum usable lifetime from any laptop — unless we're talking about ThinkPads, anyway. Those things just don't die.
This post previously said that all Chromebooks launched in 2020 and beyond would receive eight years of updates, but Google's blog post doesn't explicitly say "all":
And now, devices launching in 2020 and beyond will receive automatic updates for even longer. The new Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet and Acer Chromebook 712 will both receive automatic updates until June 2028. So if you’re considering refreshing your fleet or investing in new devices, now is a great time.
Both that passage and other language employed by Google imply that the majority of new Chromebooks released in 2020 and beyond will receive 8 years of support. It does remain possible that new devices based on older hardware platforms — which OEMs turn into completed Chromebooks — wouldn't enjoy the same lifespan, nor are we promised that all future platforms will also be in this 8-year club. We've reached out to Google hoping to clarify the situation and will update this post if we learn anything new.
Google has clarified with us exactly how this is going to play out, and it's much as we suspected. The clock starts counting when the first model based on a new Chrome device platform is released, and stops in June, eight years later. So depending on when in the year that first device comes out, the support window could ultimately range from seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half years.
If tracking down the platform a new device is based on and doing all that math sounds like effort you'd rather not expend, we don't blame you, and Google seems to feel similarly — the company suggests that users always check out its Auto Update Expiration support page, which will tell you exactly how long software will last for any Chromebook under the sun.
An update to Google's Auto Update Expiration support page has revealed the first two Chromebooks that will receive updates for eight years. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and Asus Chromebook Flip C436, both announced at CES 2020, will get Chrome OS updates until June 2028.