Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Google tells hardware workers to find new roles

Google is redeploying Pixel staff raising questions on its future hardware plans Pixelbook Sexy but pricey
Kayla Schwartz | 14 March, 2019, 21:57

Was reception to the tablet so poor that it scared Google away from computer hardware entirely - at least for now?

Since its introduction in 2016, the Made by Google initiative has led to a number of successful products ranging from smartphones to smart speakers. 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. We're glad to know that the employees involved are being reassigned to other projects within the company. Given the competition within the laptop market, this isn't too surprising.

Right now, the Google Pixel phone project doesn't seem to be impacted by these changes, but the people with knowledge of the restructuring told the cited source that several projects have been canceled in the laptop and tablet division. 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. 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.

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If anything, this is Google finally recognizing that ultra-luxury devices are not an ideal container for its Chrome OS, not to mention that its OS needs more work before it's readily available for use on both touch devices and traditional computers.

Google's tablets meanwhile have struggled to hit the right note with consumers.

For anyone who has been following Google's hardware, this report probably doesn't come as a surprise, because despite releasing ambitious devices like the Pixelbook and Pixel C, there's always been a major issue or two holding those gadgets back from mainstream appeal.

To be clear, the employee-shifting that's been reported seems to be concentrated for now within Google's tablet and laptop teams. Since then, sources tell us that pressure has increased to make hardware at Google into a "real business".

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