Since the conclusion of Google I/O 2022, I’ve been publicly (and privately) banging the drum for Google to create an entirely new ecosystem of products. The wheels have been spinning since Google’s Tensor chip was introduced with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. But at I/O, things escalated further as Google showed off its upcoming flagship phones, its first in-house smartwatch, and even a tablet.
At the time, I said frankly that it was time for Google to announce the Tensor-powered Pixelbook 2, it was in May, and to my much disappointment, it looks like those plans won’t come to fruition, at least anytime in the near future. Just last week, a rumor appears to have confirmed that the Pixelbook 2 actually no longer exists. Those working on the project were transferred to other teams within Google, while the device itself was added to the “Killed by Google” cemetery.
Why was the Pixelbook 2 cancelled?
According to an internal memo I got the edgeThe Pixelbook 2 project has simply been shut down “as part of recent cost-cutting measures”. Whether you believe it or not, the writing on the wall is kind of stagnant, and we’re already seeing several companies, including Google, poised for impact. This was proven by another report that was later confirmed by Google by Take Crunch (Opens in a new tab)indicating that half of the projects within Area 120 have been completely canceled.
Area 120 was already outside the scope of the Google-sphere, having created many projects such as GameSnacks, Google Cloud Tables, and other applications or services. Instead, the Area 120 team is said to be focusing only on “artificial intelligence projects first”, with team members for canceled projects given until January 2023 to “find a new job within Google”. Needless to say, things aren’t looking great at all for those hoping for new and innovative apps or services, not to mention something as sordid as a new Chromebook.
I’m not angry, just disappointed
Sometimes when I’m writing, you may be able to tell when an emotion is jumping from the words on the screen. That’s how I felt writing about the Tensor-powered Pixelbook, along with my thoughts on why I’m excited about the upcoming Pixel Tablet more than anything else announced at I/O. Maybe the Apple fanboy inside me, but there’s something to be said about Hardware ecosystem.
And thanks to Cupertino’s frightening “walled garden”, this can only be demonstrated by having multiple Apple devices. It’s the only way you can get iMessage, AirDrop, and nearly all of Apple’s devices and services to work together (for the most part) in perfect harmony. It’s the same path that Samsung has taken, with a little help from Microsoft and Windows in the laptop sector. It’s also the same path I envisioned for Google’s batch of devices heading into 2023.
The tablet is coming. The phones and smartwatch will be here in the next month or two. Android 13 is already available. Google is trying to make strides to improve the overall tablet experience, thanks in large part to the sudden and continued popularity of Samsung’s foldable phones. Hell, even ChromeOS is improving at a faster rate than I can believe, even if it “only” brings features that should have already been there from the start.
But I’d be a liar if I sat here and told you “it’s all right”. Honestly, and frankly, it’s bad. I’ve never owned a Google Chromebook outside of the Pixel Slate, which is kind of important, but not really. I’ve also stopped buying the Pixelbook Go as I would have pre-ordered the Pixelbook 2 as quickly as Google’s online storefront would allow me. A lot of it has to do with the ecosystem, but ChromeOS’s maturity plays a more important role. And what better way to enjoy a Google desktop-like operating system than with some brand-new Google devices?
Unfortunately, it’s not supposed to be so.
Market is good without Pixelbook 2
I had the honorable pleasure of reviewing the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, one of the most incredible pieces of hardware I’ve used over the past few years. HP has taken all the greatness in its current offering of premium laptops and dumped ChromeOS on it. Reverse hinge, check. Great show, check. Sublime keyboard, check. The latest and greatest strength, check. Exorbitant price? Check, check, then check three times.
Some of that can probably be attributed to the touch trackpad that feels approx As good as Apple’s Magic Trackpad. Depending on my mood that day, I might give HP a nod, if only because of the feedback it gets when picking up windows and interacting with other areas of ChromeOS. And this is where we learn that the Chromebook Market doesn’t need to Another Pixelbook.
HP isn’t the only company that actually develops and releases high-end ChromeOS laptops. I would venture to guess that the dragonfly was just the beginning. High-end hardware was a major piece of the puzzle when looking at Pixelbooks and Chromebook Pixels from last year. There are still some who believe that the original Pixelbook offers the best typing experience, while the Pixelbook Go has the best speakers on a Chromebook. And that’s what I wanted to experience, as someone who is a bit late to the game.
But instead of Google spending its time and resources on a product that doesn’t affect the bottom line one way or the other, the company just said “we’ll let others handle it.” So, Google basically passed the torch of its hardware to HP, Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and any other manufacturer that wanted to develop and release better Chromebooks.
As the legend himself pointed out, Jerry Hildenbrand (Opens in a new tab): “Google’s laptop division is a great example of this. When Google first released the original Chromebook Pixel, no company was building a premium, professional Chromebook. In fact, Chromebooks marketed as low-cost devices were good enough. “”
Given the current state of the Chromebook market, Google didn’t need to go out and show everyone how it’s done. Google didn’t need to offer a “reference design” for already proven hardware, even if it was a bit boring.
“Don’t tell me the odds”
Google made the financial decision to cancel another project. And we may never know how close the Pixelbook 2 will be to the announcement. I wouldn’t be surprised if photos or real-life photos come out in the next six months, that’s how the cookie breaks.
But we’ve also been here before. I’m not ready to say goodbye to the idea of the “Pixel Perfect” ecosystem powered by Google. Just a few years ago, the company said it would not be returning to the tablet market, however there is at least one tablet coming sometime next year.
I’ll be hedging my bets for now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pixelbook 2 just appear on the Google Store one day in the next couple of years. Tensor is still a baby so maybe the move is to let him mature a bit more. Yes, that’s definitely all. right?
#Google #hope #Pixel #Perfect #ecosystem