Omens are not looking great for the long-term health of Google’s own line of laptops and tablets, after various sources informed Business Insider of cuts to the Create division.
Sources have told the outlet that “dozens” of engineers and program managers working on Pixelbook and Pixel Slate have been told to seek employment in other areas of Alphabet as part of “roadmap cutbacks”.
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It’s important to note that manufacturing numbers don’t appear to have suffered, as that implies that in the short term things should go on as normal. Products that are close to market will likely still go ahead as planned. The focus on engineers and program managers suggests that it’s the longer term projects that will suffer and that the remaining team will instead be forced to “pare down the portfolio”. One source said this means that a “bunch of stuff in the works” may now never emerge.
To be clear, this doesn’t impact other “Made by Google” products, such as the Pixel or Google Home. They’re not part of the Create division.
Even so, this is a bit of a shame, albeit one that’s not wholly unexpected. Much as we loved the Pixelbook when we reviewed it, at nearly a grand for a Chrome OS machine, it was a bit of a tough sell in a space where devices typically go for under £400.
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More recently, we had similar concerns about the Pixel Slate, with Alistair writing that: “A lack of third-party and freeware application support mean the OS is too limited for serious work.
“The Pixel Slate is the best Chrome OS tablet ever made, but the operating system needs work if Google wants it to be an iPad Pro or Surface Pro killer.”
With these latest cutbacks, the chances of the hardware ever reaching that kind of potential just took a serious knock back.
Is Google right to pull back from the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.