Google exits the Chromebook arena and shutters the Pixelbook department

Talk about a roller coaster ride. Just a couple of months ago, Robby came across: hidden in plain sight – evidence that Google absolutely had plans to make a new Pixelbook. After spending the last two years tirelessly scouring the Chromium repository for signs of a new Made by Google Chromebook, (with little reward) the realization that Rick Osterloh himself flatly confirmed that a new device breathed new life into our dreams of a new Pixelbook.

Despite the veiled nature of Mr. Osterloh’s statement, that spark was all it took to rekindle the flame of hope that Google was working on the first Tensor-powered Pixelbook. We’ve discussed this at length on numerous podcasts and given Apple’s monumental success in switching to ARM-powered macOS devices, imagining a Tensor-powered next-gen Pixelbook really wasn’t a bridge too far. In fact, the idea of ​​a new Google Chromebook powered by the company’s in-house SoC is a rumor that It’s been going around the rumor mill for over a year..

While some of those “leaks” seem completely unfounded, Rick Osterloh’s aforementioned statement leads me to believe that they weren’t entirely based on fantasy. After all, most rumors are born from a fragment of the truth. Regardless of what Google had up its sleeve, we were excited because, frankly, there’s something about Pixlebooks. It’s almost impossible to put into words, but Google’s Chromebooks, even the OG Pixels, were just “built differently.” The newer Pixelbook-branded devices weren’t the most powerful Chromebooks on the market. They also didn’t necessarily include any features you couldn’t find on models from other OEMs. However, there is an almost intangible feeling that you get when you pick up a Made by Google Chromebook.

Pixelbook vs. PixelBook Go

A tablet in the gap

Google SVP Rick Osterloh didn’t reveal when we might see a new Pixelbook, but he did take the stage at Google I/O to announce some other exciting hardware coming out of Mountain View soon. Along with the Pixel Watch Rick was sporting onstage, the SVP also threw out a curveball that we’d see a Tensor-powered Pixel Android tablet in 2023. Okay… Weird turn of events, but I’m tracking, Rick. Do not misunderstand. The idea of ​​seeing a true successor to the Pixel C is exciting. The Android tablet space is absolutely one-dimensional, with Samsung being the only OEM doing anything close to cutting edge.

Perhaps Google’s temporary shift in focus to the Android tablet market would give them time to iterate and refine the fledgling Tensor SoC in preparation for the monumental launch of the world’s first Tensor-powered Pixelbook. In the meantime, we can all enjoy driving a premium, powerful, Google-y Android tablet that doesn’t bear a Samsung badge. I’m inside. Hundred percent. Take my money.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The teased Pixel tablet that briefly appeared on the screen behind Rick looked more like an e-reader or a kid’s Fire tablet. That’s not to say it didn’t look like a Google device. In fact, my immediate thought was that the new Pixel tablet looked a lot like a Next Hub smart display without a dock. As it turns out, that was no coincidence. You see, earlier this year, Google was found to be working on a detachable Nest Hub-style device. At that time, I theorized the Pixel tablet and this unannounced smart display could very well be one in the same. Everything indicates that this is the case and eventually we will have a Pixel tablet that it pulls double duty as a mounted smart display.

So, it’s not exactly what I was expecting, but I get it. Google has leaned heavily into the smart home market, and combining an Android tablet with the versatility of a Nest smart display makes a lot of sense. You can use it to play games, read the news, watch some Netflix and when you’re ready to go hands-free, simply place it on the base and you have a smart display/speaker that’s perfect for reading recipes or making a video call. . Cool. I can dig it. Now, let’s go ahead and talk about that future Pixelbook. Must?

Say it isn’t so…

Up to this point, this story unfolds like a dream come true. Although it’s been three years since the last Pixelbook was announced, we’re totally willing to wait a little longer to see a new Google Chromebook with internal silicon technology that continues the Pixelbook legacy. Unfortunately, our story has now taken a turn that’s worthy of an M. Night Shyamalan movie and I’m sad to report that a new Pixelbook is no longer part of Google’s future hardware roadmap. I know. I didn’t want to tell you, but you deserve to hear it from a friend. We will get through this together. I promise.

The news came earlier today. As reported by The Verge, the disappearance of the next Pixelbook comes on the heels of a Company Memo from CEO Sundar Pichai in which the Google leader claimed that hiring would slow down and that certain areas of development would be paused. This would not necessarily result in cuts, but rather the “redistribution of resources to higher priority areas.” According to The Verge’s undisclosed source, one of the areas of development was the team in charge of the Pixelbook.

Google has canceled the next version of its Pixelbook laptop and disbanded the team responsible for building it. The device was well advanced in development and was expected to debut next year, according to a person familiar with the matter, but the project was scrapped as part of recent cost-cutting moves within Google. Team members have been transferred to another location within the company..

the edge

If the source is correct and this information is accurate, it appears that Google could have been planning to release its next Pixelbook as soon as next year. Given that the new Pixel tablet is likely to arrive in the first half of the year, I’d bet the target was a fall launch of the Pixelbook at Google’s 2023 hardware event. That’s just my two cents. I have no idea what the company had in the works. Regardless, none of that matters now. The next Pixelbook is no more and the team is likely to disperse to work with OEM partners on creating the next generation of ChromeOS devices. but that may not be a bad thing…

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” That’s a great saying and I think it’s at the heart of much of Google’s hardware strategy. Since the original Google Pixel Chromebook and the Nexus family of Android phones, Google’s hardware has often taken the form of halo devices that were meant to be a guiding light for other manufacturers. That mantra has changed a bit since the debut of the new Tensor-powered Pixel phones, but it’s still part of the fabric that Google is woven with. As the old saying goes, Google often “shows up” when the Android or ChromeOS ecosystem needs a little push. To understand a possible reason behind Google’s exit from the Chromebook market at this time, we need to analyze the rest of that saying. The part most of us forget.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When the student is really ready… The teacher will disappear.

ChromeOS has come of age. You may not agree and that’s fine, but like it or not, Chromebooks are everywhere. Google has managed to bring ChromeOS to the masses and make the relatively young operating system a staple in schools, homes and, perhaps most importantly, in the business sector. We can discuss that later, but the fact is that Chromebooks are here to stay. Google knows it. PC manufacturers know this. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have $2,000 ChromeOS devices like the Dragonfly HP Elite that are fully featured and on par with some of the best Windows machines on the market. Make no mistake, the giant OEMs don’t go all out on a device and allow them to carry the name of top-tier device lines unless they believe there is a market for them.

All of this to say that I think Google knows that Chromebook makers are totally on board with creating cutting-edge ChromeOS devices that rival anything out there. Maybe Google has decided that the world doesn’t need another Pixelbook. At least not right now. Let us not forget that it was not long ago that Rick Osterloh himself put it out there. that Google was out of the tablet game. It took less than three years for it to take on a 180 and soon we’ll have a new Made by Google tablet to enjoy.

Maybe, just maybe, the time is right for Google to bring the Pixelbook back into the shadows. Perhaps a Google Chromebook will emerge once again when, like a mysterious superhero, it’s needed. Personally, I was really looking forward to seeing a new Pixelbook powered by Google’s Tensor SoC and I know I’m not alone. The world of ChromeOS should have a herald and that herald longs to be a Pixelbook, but other OEMs have joined Google and are making ultra-premium Halo devices that can take up the torch. As much as we want a new Pixelbook, this may be for the best. To quote Jim Gordon, perhaps “the Pixelbook is the Chromebook we deserve, but not the Chromebook we need right now.”

Font: the edge

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