If you were an early adopter of Google's first wave of Chromebook laptops, you might want to start preparing your finances for an upgrade. Google's End of Life policy for its devices means that support for the oldest of Chromebooks could soon draw to a close.
Google guarantees support for "5 years for Chrome devices from launch of the hardware," after which it "cannot indefinitely ensure [...] that older Chrome devices will receive updates to leverage new OS features." That includes security updates.
The appeal of a Chromebook lies in the fact that, as essentially all the heavy lifting is done by the Chrome browser, internal hardware abilities over time should be less of a concern than with a traditional laptop. However, even a browser and browser-based apps can start to become more resource-heavy over five years, so Google's support timeframe is understandable.
At present, the Samsung Series 5 and CR-48 prototype have passed their End of Life dates, while Acer's AC700 is set to expire this month. However, as PC World points out, Google allows for some flexibility here, with both the Samsung Series 5 and CR-48 still receiving some updates to the present day. Google seems prepared to extend support particularly when it comes to security patches – sensible given that rival Microsoft rolls out security updates for up to 10 years for its legacy operating systems.
In the meantime, users of older Chromebooks should brace themselves for a notification announcing that End of Life allowance has been reached. While it's not the final death knell for a Chromebook, which should continue to work (with diminishing app support) for some time afterwards, consider it a prompt to start filling the piggy bank once again. [Google, PC World]