The big picture: Originally set for five years, Google recently extended the expiration date to 6.5 years from when the first device on a particular platform is released. The search giant even makes an effort to notify users six months in advance of the expiration date to give buyers time to plan on purchasing a newer device.
Chromebooks, like most other platforms that run major operating systems, enjoy automatically managed updates. This means that Google will automatically update Chrome OS on your device… that is, until it reaches its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date. That’s right, Chromebooks have an expiration date.
A recent bug in the Canary and Dev builds of Chrome OS accidentally triggered this warning when rebooting, regardless of the platform’s age. The bug has already been patched and fortunately, not many people experienced it as it was limited to the Canary and Dev builds.
The snafu does remind us about the AUE date, however, and that is important. To check the AUE date of your Chromebook, simply grab its model number and look for it over on Google’s AUE list.
Note that a device’s End of Sale date is controlled by the manufacturer and is not directly related to a system’s AUE date. As such, it’s important to check the AUE date before buying a new Chromebook.
As Ars Technica highlights, those with a Chromebook near the end of its update cycle do still have a few options. You could install Linux as a fully bootable OS using chrx or replace Chrome OS with an alternate version like the Home Edition of Neverware CloudReady.
Masthead credit: Chromebook by Cory A Ulrich