The market perception for Chromebooks is mixed - either you love them, or you hate them. It took some time for users to see value in this Google Chrome-based laptop, but it gradually made progress particularly in the education market.
For the uninitiated, Chromebooks are laptops that run on Chrome OS. It is more functional online, as most activities — from processing word files to taking notes — are done via the Chrome browser and nearly everything is saved onto cloud storage system. That's why Chromebooks don't usually offer much storage and don't require a fast processor, not to mention it is quite cheap versus other laptops.
The most popular Chromebooks according to reports are the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA, Acer Chromebook 11 and 15, and the Google Pixelbook, to name a few. As a cheap but branded laptop, the Chromebook does have a special appeal. There's one catch though: its support lifespan is fixed. Unlike regular PCs that get lifetime updates, when the Chromebook reaches its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) or End-of-Life (EOL) date, usually 6.5 years after its release, it will stop receiving updates even if it is still in good condition and highly functional. It is important to note that regular updates are needed for the OS to run smoothly and ensure security. Although 6 years seem long enough for a laptop lifespan, the coverage starts right upon the product's release, meaning if users purchase today a brand-new Acer Chromebook R 11 (released November 2017), which sells well in the Philippines, they will enjoy only 4.5 years of updates. The device can no longer get technical support and users won't be able to use the Google Admin console and other related tools after the AUE.
In an effort to slightly alleviate the issue, Google will reportedly indicate the EOL details in its Chrome Settings to guide users and would-be buyers. It was shared in an XDA Developers forum that the feature was seen in a Canary version of the Chrome OS, hinting that it might roll out soon. On the Settings menu, users should go to About Chrome OS then click on Additional Details. The AUE will be listed under Update Schedule.
Aside from this, it has also been reported that Google has updated the EOL dates of 135 Chromebook models and the support lifespan of seven Lenovo Chromebooks have been extended up to 2025.
It's good to know that Google is being proactive about the fixed support lifespan issue, but Chromebook users can only hope that future Chromebook models will offer longer AUEs or better yet a lifetime support feature.