Google Makes Hardware a Second-Class Citizen, Several Devices Now in Doubt

Joanna Estrada
March 14, 2019

It is possible that Google may have been working on other related hardware initiatives to fill out its previous product roadmap and may have made a decision to concentrate exclusively on a more limited hardware program. Given the competition within the laptop market, this isn't too surprising.

For now, Google is asking affected employees to seek temporary roles, meaning that the company could revert the alleged downsizing down the line. Perhaps that's why the company is reportedly reassigning some employees from the "Create" team to other units within it.

After several false starts, including a short lived acquisition of phone maker Motorola from 2012 to 2014, Google declared its seriousness about hardware in 2016 when it hired Rick Osterloh to head up a new hardware group.

The restructure does not affect the "Pixel" team, which is focused on developing Google's smartphone efforts.

To be clear, the employee-shifting that's been reported seems to be concentrated for now within Google's tablet and laptop teams.

Manufacturing jobs have reportedly not been affected which implies that Google is only reassessing its plans for future products and the near-term devices will be launched as per plans.

Following the Pixel C came the Pixelbook, which was widely regarded as one of the best, most luxurious Chromebooks ever made. Instead, Google will likely invest more in Chrome OS software, while the company would continue to work with device manufacturers to build laptops running it. Unfortunately, this impressive performance doesn't extend to the company's tablets and laptops, and it now seems Google is taking action.

With the Pixel C, Google attempted to re-imagine what a portable 2-in-1 could be by designing a detachable tablet that connected to its keyboard dock via a tilting, magnetic flap that functioned sort of like a reverse kickstand.

Downsizing its laptop and tablet division comes nearly three years after Google unified its hardware efforts under the leadership of Osterloh. Since then, sources tell us that pressure has increased to make hardware at Google into a "real business".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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