Google said that it plans to provide software updates for Chromebooks for up to a decade. The new policy, which starts next year, ensures that no existing Chromebook will expire within the next two years.
The policy change comes after an August column in The Wall Street Journal detailing schools' struggles with expiring Chromebooks.
Chromebooks are ubiquitous in classrooms around the country, but some education software doesn't work after what Google calls the Auto Update Expiration date. Unsupported Chromebooks can't be used for mandatory state testing, even if the hardware still appears functional.
When the laptops expire, school districts recycle them, sometimes at a cost, and spend millions of dollars on replacements. Google currently sets expiration dates based on the release date of specific models. Newer models have eight years of support, while older Chromebooks have five.
Starting in 2024, Google will support a given laptop "platform" -- a certain combination of hardware components -- for 10 years after the first device in the platform hits store shelves. These so-called platforms aren't unique to specific brands or manufacturers and can be found in a variety of distinct models.