1. Update design specifications to include an easily accessible write protection method. My personal preference is for a write protection screw placed under a foot pad. Remove one foot pad, unscrew the screw, then reglue the foot pad. Judging by how Chromebook write protection trended to jumpers/switches in 2012-2013, screws in 2014-2017, batteries in 2017-2021, and jumpers in late 2021+, Google has some say in how disparate manufacturers of their devices do things.
2. If the write protection is removed, add “Install ChromeOS Flex” to the default Chromebook recovery mode options. This would install UEFI, then install ChromeOS Flex over WiFi.
They could buy back expired devices on the cheap, do the above steps over USB-C, and re-sell the devices for a profit, similar to Apple.
I realize how this could affect Chromebook sales, and why the Chromebook division and manufacturing partners would be reluctant to make these changes. Selling new equipment makes more revenue, and keeping older devices in service threatens new purchases.
To this I argue:
1. There will always be a healthy demand for fully supported Chromebooks. Whether it’s for access to the full Google Play store, upgrading speed, or institutional users that need official support, new Chromebooks running standard ChromeOS are needed.
2. There is ample need for basic computers for people who can’t otherwise afford Chromebooks. When COVID first hit and schools switched to distance learning, it exposed how many American families didn’t have enough devices for their children and couldn’t afford to buy more. And that is just in this country.
3. Putting those users from #2 in Google’s ecosystem will benefit Google’s main revenue stream. ChromeOS Flex is a ChromeOS distribution. It’s designed to work with a Google account and you browse in Chrome—both of which benefit Google’s main money-maker: ads.
4. It serves a stated goal of ChromeOS Flex: reducing e-waste.
So with that said… What are you waiting for, Google?