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Google Hardware makes cuts to laptop and tablet development, cancels products

14 March 2019

Google is reportedly making a series of changes in its hardware division that puts the future of a number of devices in doubt, according to a report today. Since the market is insanely competitive and margins are low, it seems Google decided that perhaps it would be best to concentrate its efforts on its products that are doing well for now. However, shortly after launch, numerous users reported issues with the Pixel Slate's performance, particularly when using the device in laptop mode, which forced Google to address the lag later via software updates. The company denied Business Insider's request for comment.

By asking employees to seek temporary, rather than permanent, new roles, Google may be leaving itself flexibility to boost staffing on the Create hardware team in the future.

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Manufacturing plans haven't been adjusted, however, which means that the products that Google plans to release in the short term wouldn't be affected by Google's restructuring. But with the Pixel C limited to running stock Android instead of Chrome OS like you get on more modern Google-based convertibles, and equipped with a buggy and often uncomfortable keyboard, the Pixel C was ill-prepared at the time to go up against competing products like the Surface 3. One source confirmed that the company indeed had "a bunch of stuff in the works" prior to the employee shift.

Following the Pixel C came the Pixelbook, which was widely regarded as one of the best, most luxurious Chromebooks ever made. Was reception to the tablet so poor that it scared Google away from computer hardware entirely - at least for now? While there is no indication that Google plans to abandon the Pixelbook, the staff reductions suggest that Google is unlikely to flesh out its in-house line of Chromebooks with a wider variety of products and prices.

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Downsizing its laptop and tablet division comes nearly three years after Google unified its hardware efforts under the leadership of Osterloh.

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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Google Hardware makes cuts to laptop and tablet development, cancels products