Uh Oh, Looks Like Google's Hardware Team Might Be in Trouble

Alfred Osborne
March 14, 2019

The affected employees have been seeking temporary roles within Google's smartphone division as well as in other Alphabet companies, allowing them to remain associated with Google and giving the company flexibility to reassess its decision in the future.

Over the past few years, Google has been pushing deeper into the hardware business with products like the Pixelbook, Pixel Slate, multiple Google Homes, and of course, Pixel phones, with the latter getting a big boost thanks to Google's $1.1 billion (£820 million) acquisition of tech and personnel from HTC last year.

While Google hasn't commented on the report, it looks like the Mountain View-based company is just making hardware a second-class citizen of its ecosystem, trying instead to focus on projects that align with its push for continued growth. According to Business Insider, the company is telling dozens of employees on the Google Create division, which oversaw the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate, to temporarily move to other positions within Alphabet amidst "roadmap cutbacks".

An internal source close to Business Insider told that Google is now going through "roadmap cutbacks" and hence the decision.

Manufacturing roles within Create were not reportedly not impacted by the recent downsizing, which indicates that Google's near term product lineup may be unaffected. The hardware market for laptops is fiercely competitive, and all of Google's (overpriced) efforts in this space have failed to capture the market.

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Although the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook boast a premium design and pack decent hardware, their value proposition is low and software optimizations were questionable and often show the company's lack of commitment towards improving Chrome OS.

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.

Back in May 2016, Google first announced that it would be releasing updates to Chrome OS that would allow Android apps on Chromebook.

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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