Google Hardware makes cuts to laptop and tablet development, cancels products

Yolanda Curtis
March 14, 2019

On the tablet side, however, things might get a bit messy since Google Pixel Slate didn't receive all the love even from enthusiasts.

Interestingly, Google doesn't seem to consider this to be a permanent change, which appears to suggest that at some point in the future the search giant could bring back the workforce to the Create unit. Already, these "floating" employees have been seeking roles within the company's smartphone division, Pixel, and other Alphabet companies, sources say.

As Business Insider reports, this "roadmap pushout" now raises questions about the extent of Google's commitment to building its own line of laptops and tablets.

To be clear, the employee-shifting that's been reported seems to be concentrated for now within Google's tablet and laptop teams. Other divisions within the company's hardware product area (known internally as HWPA) include Pixel (for smartphones), Home (for smart home devices, including Nest), and Wearables. The hardware market for laptops is fiercely competitive, and all of Google's (overpriced) efforts in this space have failed to capture the market.

Manufacturing plans haven't been adjusted, however, which means that the products that Google plans to release in the short term wouldn't be affected by Google's restructuring. The Pixelbook, like the Chromebook Pixel before it, is just a high-end Chrome OS laptop. The tablet is, well, a Google tablet, and as usual, it debuted to a lukewarm reception. Both the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate ran Chrome OS, and they are the company's only products supporting that operating system.

Downsizing its laptop and tablet division comes nearly three years after Google unified its hardware efforts under the leadership of Osterloh.

However, at least once source said that there was a "bunch of stuff in the works" that may now no longer see the light of day.

The move comes after the group received pressure to turn Google Hardware into "a real business" from higher-ups at Google/Alphabet.

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