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

A report from Business Insider claims that Google has axed “dozens” of employees from its laptop and tablet division. BI’s sources describe the move as causing “roadmap cutbacks” and that Google will likely “pare down the portfolio” in the future.

Google’s Hardware division is run by Rick Osterloh and is expected to launch a game streaming console later this month.

The division is responsible for the Pixel phones, Google Home speakers, the Chromecast, Google Wi-Fi, and lately, the Nest smart home division.

For “laptops and tablets,” the group’s most recent hardware products have been the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook. The Pixel Slate was a weird Chrome OS tablet with a detachable keyboard, made as a competitor to the Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad Pro. 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. The Pixelbook, though, is a well-liked (if expensive) laptop for people who want a simple Chrome OS device in a high-quality package.

You could also call the “laptop and tablet” division the “Chrome OS” division. Both the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate ran Chrome OS, and they are the company’s only products supporting that operating system. Is Chrome OS going to be OK? BI notes that manufacturing roles in the hardware division haven’t changed, so in the short-term, Google’s product lineup is likely to keep going. The report says that Google had “a bunch of stuff in the works” that now probably won’t 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. It’s easy to imagine that the laptops and tablets—which are Google Hardware’s most expensive products—were selling the worst.

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