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Google reportedly abandons Pixelbook range in bid to cut costs

Google has allegedly shelved its next Chromebook and the team that built it

Google's Pixelbook Go laptop on a shelf

Google has reportedly cancelled its next model of Pixelbook laptop and even dismantled the team behind it in a bid to cut operational costs. 

The laptop was quite far along in its development and even expected to be released next year, according to The Verge, which cites sources familiar with the matter. 

If the Pixelbook is no more, it would appear to be a very recent change of plans as Google's head of hardware, Rick Osterloh, suggested just before the company's I/O developer conference that more Pixelbooks were coming. 

Google's hardware teams that work on the Pixelbook laptops have reportedly been transferred elsewhere in the company and it appears that no jobs, as yet, have been cut. However, CEO Sundar Pichai has recently said that the organisation would slow hiring and also review its headcount

"In some cases, that means consolidating where investments overlap and streamlining processes," the CEO wrote in a July memo. "In other cases, that means pausing development and re-deploying resources to higher priority areas." 

Google's Pixelbook can go

As it stands, the 2020 Pixelbook Go is potentially the last Google laptop we will see. Hardware, including laptops and even its Pixel range of smartphones, are usually listed under 'other bets' in Alphabet's financial reports. For the second quarter of 2022, revenue for other bets was listed as $193 million, up from 2021. The issue here is that there is no breakdown for what is included in other bets and the Pixel 6, and 6 Pro were both very popular releases last year. 

At the end of 2020, Chromebook sales were "through the roof", according to Canalys research. This was in part due to the pandemic which pushed more people towards remote work and home learning and, in turn, accelerated Chromebook sales. However, even during this spike in shipments, Google and its Pixelbook laptops did not break into the top five providers - HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, and Samsung. It may well have been that the Pixelbook came under 'others', in that research, which only accounted for 9% of the market at that time. 

The market for Chromebooks, and all laptops, has seen a significant drop since, partly due to the increase in inflation across the globe. Google's leadership team has reportedly been seeking ways to reduce costs, which was initially thought to be a sign it was preparing to let staff go. However, it appears that the company would much rather ditch a product line, that isn't as popular as it would have liked. 

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