Google throws a year-long lifeline to Chrome OS devices

Google Cr-48
Another year to bask in the Cr-48's glow

No matter who manufactures them, Chrome OS-based notebooks and desktop boxes tend to make decent inexpensive computers, and now Google guarantees the software that keeps them running will be supported for a minimum of five years.

Google has updated its Chrome OS End of Life Policy, effectively tacking on an extra year's worth of software support for 16 different Chromebook and Chromebox products manufactured by Acer, HP, Samsung and others.

"EOL [End of Life] dates may be pushed later than the initial date published, but will never be sooner than listed, which will be at least a minimum of five years from launch of the hardware," an updated footnote on Google's policy page reads.

Chrome OS is essentially an operating system built around Google's web browser technology. It made its debut in 2010 as a potential contender to more expensive Windows and Mac OS X platforms.

Long live Chrome

The change of policy extends the life of Chrome OS products into late 2018 or even early 2019 in most cases, with only Google's original Cr-48 notebook facing imminent extinction come December 2015.

That's quite a good deal, considering the Cr-48 lived fast and died young following its December 2010 release as part of an estimated 60,000-unit pilot program then effectively discontinued the following summer to make way for the first official products from Samsung and Acer.

One of those Chromebooks, the Samsung Series 5, has a firm End of Life date in June 2016, while Google appears to be leaving the door open with "unofficial" EOL dates for the remaining devices.

With more schools and businesses finally taking a chance on Chrome OS, the extension will likely be music to the ears of those tasked with purchasing such devices, which currently receive software updates like clockwork every six months.