“Chromebooks aren’t constructed to final”: Common system has four years of updates left

Chromebook logo on black laptop

Enlarge / US PIRG’s “Chromebook Churn” report casts a harsh highlight on flaws in Chromebook repairability and longevity. (credit score: Scharon Harding)

Google is within the US Public Curiosity Analysis Group (PIRG) sizzling seat. This week, the nonprofit revealed its “Chromebook Churn” [PDF] report, pointing a finger at Google for enabling Chromebooks that “aren’t designed to final.” It highlighted Chromebook quirks, like seemingly pointless {hardware} tweaks throughout fashions that problem parts-sourcing and computerized replace expiration (AUE) dates, as examples of the repair-averse Chromebook tradition Google has enabled. For goal Chromebook markets, like colleges, that go for Chromebooks to economize, long-term prices could outweigh the instant financial savings, PIRG’s evaluation concluded.

The report focuses on Chromebooks in colleges and is predicated on an interviews with 10 “college IT administrators, technicians, journalists, restore store homeowners, components suppliers, and academics,” in addition to a “five-question survey with 13 college IT directors and technicians.” The pattern measurement may very well be a lot bigger, however the particulars within the report are additionally primarily based on undisputed traits of ChromeOS gadgets. And whereas PIRG’s paper emphasizes the impression this all has for colleges, particularly the inflow of Chromebooks bought for colleges in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic’s top and past, it is value contemplating for any present or potential Chromebook homeowners or individuals who wish to vote with their greenback.

Sneaky design modifications hinder repairs

The report, written by PIRG’s Designed to Final Marketing campaign director, Lucas Rockett Gutterman, argues that as a result of Chromebooks are largely web-based and do not fluctuate in energy as a lot as different laptops, it must be “simple” to supply modular designs that enable for components to be shared throughout Chromebook fashions. Certainly, Framework’s modular Chromebook proves that is attainable. However in its “Failing the Repair” [PDF] report from February, PIRG reported that Chromebooks have a mean French repairability index rating of 5.eight out of 10, in comparison with 6.9 for all non-Chromebook laptops.

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