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Shopping for Chromebooks? An Important Item to Check

Shopping for Chromebooks? An Important Item to Check

How do I check for a Chromebook's auto update expiration date, and what does it matter?

This may be old news for some, but it’s something every Chromebook purchaser must know. Google sets an Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date for all Chromebooks.

The AUE date is determined by what Google calls the“hardware platform.” This is based on the chipset and other hardware in each Chromebook. Google provides 6.5 years of support for each hardware platform but that does not mean that every device model has 6.5 years of life. Different models of Chromebooks by different vendors can use the same hardware platform. And most importantly, the AUE date is based on when the first device on a hardware platform is released.

For instance, if Acer releases the first Chromebook model using a hardware platform, that device expires in 6.5 years. If Lenovo releases a Chromebook device using the same hardware platform but releases it two years later, that device will expire in 4.5 years.

 

What does it mean when a device reaches its Auto Update Expiration date?  

Here's what Google says:

  • When a device reaches AUE, Google will no longer provide automatic software updates.
  • Enrolled Chrome devices that have reached their AUE date will no longer receive Google's technical support.
  • Business and education customers using devices that have passed their AUE date won't be able to manage their devices as expected using the Google Admin console or leverage newly released management features.

 

The last bullet may be the most important. Once the AUE is reached, those Chromebooks may not be manageable with Google Admin, making it much harder to handle them.

Note another important point that Google mentions: some manufacturers list an “End of Sale” date. The manufacturer controls this date, which has no relation to the AUE date.

 

So what should you do before buying new Chromebooks?

Manufacturers don’t list a device’s AUE date on packaging, and I have not found it mentioned on websites. Hopefully, the company that you purchase Chromebooks from will alert you to the AUE date on devices. Beware of anybody offering a special deal on older devices: you may end up buying devices that have a shorter lifespan. It would be best to check the AUE date before you purchase any new Chromebooks. Google maintains a webpage that lists the AUE date for all current Chromebook models.

If you are planning to purchase devices and would like advice, contact us.

I have many years of experience working with all types of devices from traditional laptops to tablets to Chromebooks. If you ever want to discuss the pros and cons of each, I'm here to help!

Kurt Bernhardt

Director, Technology

Kurt serves as OPSRC's technology director.

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