Google’s flagship Chromebook may finally be dead and gone, even before the line could make its official comeback.
A recent report from The Verge cites an unnamed source that claims Google has canceled work on a new Pixelbook and shut down the team working on the product. Pixelbook team members have supposedly been transferred to other positions. Google hasn’t commented on the rumor; however, CEO Sundar Pichai’s memo in July 2022 stated the company planned to slow hiring and cut some projects.
This revelation shouldn’t come as a big surprise since Google hasn’t updated the Pixelbook in the last three years. While the original Pixelbook was a high-end laptop that ran ChromeOS, it never ended up getting a true sequel. Instead, Google tried its hand at a 2-in-1 with the Pixel Slate, and then a midrange Chromebook called the Pixelbook Go.
The Pixel Slate was shuttered shortly after launch. And though Google still sells the Pixelbook Go, it’s long overdue for an update. The entire Pixelbook production was seemingly shut down in 2019, but some reports in 2021 pointed to a possible launch sometime in 2023. But the report from The Verge seems to indicate that those plans have changed yet again.
It could be that Google has stopped Pixelbook production because several high-quality Chromebooks are already available from other manufacturers. Rather than compete with Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, and Dell for Chromebook shoppers, Google may have decided to use its resources on improving its other products, such as the long-neglected Android tablet.
But Pixelbook fans always hoped that the “Pixel” brand meant it was a true consumer product that would get updates year over year, much like the Pixel smartphones. Unfortunately, these ChromeOS devices have been treated more like Google’s early Nexus program — products meant to stir interest in the platform, not necessarily become a best-seller.
As further evidence of Google’s shifting strategies, a new Pixel tablet was announced at Google I/O in May of 2022, slated to be launched as soon as 2023.
With a Google Pixel tablet on the horizon, having more developers and designers focusing on a well-designed and supported tablet is a wise move. Apple has a dominant position with its incredibly popular iPad, leaving Google facing a challenge to prove itself to be a serious tablet manufacturer.