A Chromebook today is an awful lot of different things.

Sometimes, it’s a simple cloud-centric laptop. Other times, it’s a complex and capable computing machine. Other times yet, it’s effectively an Android tablet.

One thing a Chromebook is not, however, is an especially long-term investment.

To its credit, Google’s taken some significant steps toward extending the lifespan of Chrome OS devices as of late, with the typical software support window now stretched from a one-time maximum of six and a half years to a much more reasonable standard of eight years — occasionally even more. That’s a big step, for sure, but the problem is that it still pales in comparison to the virtually endless software support you can get with systems running certain more traditional operating systems, such as those whose name rhymes with Schmindows.

Well, my Chrome-adoring amigo, brace yourself: This could be the year that all changes.

As we speak, Google’s working on two different subtle-seeming behind-the-scenes adjustments to the Chrome OS software — changes we’ve chatted about in passing before, separately, but that taken together add up to a whole new level of eye-opening progress. They’re changes no normal Chromebook-owning creature would possibly be tuned into right now and that most average Chrome OS users might not ever even notice. But they’re changes you’d be well-advised to keep an eye on over the months ahead, as they could seriously shake up the very foundation of what a Chromebook is and how your laptop’s viability could evolve over time.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.