There’s no denying that this year’s CES was a big show for Chromebook users. We saw the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet tablet, and the Lenovo Flex 5. Of these four Chromebooks, three of them are what we would consider the torch-bearers of this new generation of Chrome OS devices. With the ASUS Flip C436 and Samsung Galaxy Chromebook being the first-ever Project Athena certified Chromebooks and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet bringing great tablet devices back to the platform, these three Chromebooks are responsible for setting the stage for Chrome OS in 2020.
The two Chromebooks of this group will be quite expensive with the Core i5 models coming in at $999 for both the Samsung and the ASUS. With prices like these, many buyers immediately become wary of the dreaded auto-update policy for Chromebooks. The thinking goes like this: if I’m spending $1000 on a Chromebook, I don’t want to be thinking about it not getting updates in just a few years. With the old 6.5-year auto update policy, buyers making a purchase a year or so after a device launches were basically looking at a 5 year support window on pretty pricey laptops like the Pixelbook.
Thankfully, Google is slowly but surely beginning to expand its update policies, and it looks to be starting a new trend with the flagships of 2020. All three of these big announcements from CES 2020 come with a confirmed 8+ years of official support and updates from Google. We’ve reached out to Google in regards to what we heard on the show floor at CES and it is officially June 2028 before all three of these new Chrome OS devices will hit the end of life from a security update perspective.
With the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 to begin shipping in late February, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook slated for release sometime in March, and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet arriving in May, all three of these new devices will be released in time to claim greater than 8 years of official support from Google.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this may eventually become the new normal. As we see more ‘Hatch’ and ‘Kukui’ based devices (like the Galaxy Chromebook and Duet tablet) hitting the market later this year, I would imagine similar end of life will apply with those as well. Giving buyers the peace of mind that they can buy a new Chromebook and have up to 8 years of updates is a massive selling point and a great turn-around on a factor that at one time was a weak point of buying a Chromebook. I love seeing this much more focused approach to Chromebook development and my hope is this is yet another sore spot we’ll see completely removed from future Chromebooks.