Google’s Cost Cut Kills Pixelbook Division

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Enlarge / The Pixelbook Go starts at $649 for a Core m3 processor, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

Valentina Palladino

Google’s hardware division continues to be unable to offer a consistent and reliable selection of hardware. A report by The Verge Google claims to have “cancelled the next version of its Pixelbook laptop and disbanded the team responsible for building it.” This has been the case for several years, but the only new Chromebooks will be third-party ones.

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The last laptop released by the company was the Chromebook Go in 2019, which is still on sale at store.google.com. Shortly after the launch of this device, reports surfaced that the laptop and tablet division was being downsized. While tablet plans have managed to recover thanks to Android, laptop plans are apparently dead. The latest credible Google laptop rumors date back to the run-up to the Google Tensor/Pixel 6 launch. The rumor was that Google was making its own chips and along with the phone rumors (Pixel 6) constantly claiming a desktop version chip notebook would occur. Google Hardware senior vice president Rick Osterloh said as recently as May that the company “will be making Pixelbooks in the future.” According to the report, “the device was far into development and expected to debut next year” before being cancelled.

The reason for the disbandment of the Pixelbook team is apparently that of Google CEO Sundar Pichai. cost reduction. Google’s CEO said in August that “overall productivity isn’t where it needs to be for the workforce we have” and warned that the company would “consolidate where investments overlap and streamline processes “. The Verge report states, “The Pixelbook team and the Pixelbook itself have fallen victim to this consolidation and redeployment. »

Taking Google Hardware seriously as a real company has always been difficult. Google treats the hardware market as a small secondary hobby and only sells devices in a small number of countries. Google Hardware’s product lines are barely “lines” of products, with inconsistent releases and none of the iterative annual improvements that seem to power other hardware operations. Without an automatic annual Pixelbook release, Google’s timing with this relaunch would have been terrible. It last released a Chromebook a year before the pandemic, and when the pandemic hit and Chromebook sales were at an all-time high, Google had nothing to offer. Google’s Pixelbook would have arrived just before Chromebook sales returned to Earth.

The instability of Google Hardware means that no dead product is ever truly dead. Google stopped making tablets in 2015, came back for Chrome OS tablets in 2018, then quit for another three years, and now it’s planning to launch a new Android tablet in 2023. Surely we’ll get another Google laptop one day, but we’ll just have to wait a few more years.

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