Chrome OS now shows your Chromebook’s End-of-Life info in Settings
Chromebooks, or laptops that run ChromeOS as the operating system, have a fixed support lifespan, during which Google regularly provides for updates that keep the OS running smoothly and relatively risk-free. This is a lot like the software support window for smartphones, in that you can still continue to use the device beyond the support period, but your device will be lagging behind on key features and will not receive key security updates. In an effort to be a bit more transparent in how long the user’s current Chromebook is supported, Chrome OS will now show End-of-Life information in Settings.
Chrome OS‘s update situation is complex. According to certain reports, Google promises to “provide each new hardware platform with 6.5 years of Auto Update support“. However, the support page linked in such reports no longer contains that information. Presuming the duration and other information to still be the same, 6.5 years of support appears to be rather generous compared to what we see on Android. However, the catch here is that the clock starts ticking “when the first device on the platform is released“. This means that devices launched later on will have a shorter update lifespan compared to devices launched earlier, with no reference to the actual purchase by the consumer. The smartphone equivalent of this would be to presume that the promised update lifespan would begin from the moment the first phone on a specific SoC is announced, meaning that everything else launched later on by other OEMs would no longer receive the same update love. Google does provide a centralized location for checking the Auto Update Expiration (AUE) for Chromebooks, and it recommends doing so before making a purchase decision. But we do find it unreasonable to expect the average consumer to bother knowing about this quirky update situation, as well as keeping in mind that they need to check the Auto Update policy webpage before making a purchase decision.
Thankfully, Google is trying to be more transparent with regards to this. Chrome OS will now show the date after which the Chromebook will no longer receive software support. The commit that added this feature was merged last month, but users may not know that this information is now shown in Settings.
This is immediately more relevant to a user who already owns the device, as they are now presented with how long their personal device is supported for, instead of being redirected to a global page.
Thanks to XDA Senior Member Some_Random_Username for the tip and screenshot!
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