It appears that the Google Pixelbook is no longer around, with reports that Google has not only canceled its upcoming Chromebook but also disbanded the team that worked on it.
This news, as reported by The Verge (opens in new tab), is a real blow. The previous model, the Pixelbook Go, was not only one of the best Chromebooks ever made, it was also one of the best laptops.
It also comes as a surprise, as there were hints that Google was only just working on a new Pixelbook at this year’s Google I/O. A Google spokesperson also hinted to us last year that a new Pixelbook would be coming.
Unfortunately, it seems plans have now changed, likely in part due to Google’s decision to cut costs by canceling or pausing certain projects. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a memo (and seen by The Verge) (opens in new tab)), that these measures “mean interrupting development and redeploying resources to higher-priority areas.” It appears that the team working on future Pixelbooks has been deployed elsewhere in Google.
Analysis: Goodbye, Pixelbook
The Pixelbook series only had two entries – the original, high-end Pixelbook, alongside the more affordable Pixelbook Go – but it certainly impressed.
The original Pixelbook was supposed to show the potential of Chromebooks. Rather than being just cheap devices for surfing the web and firing off a few emails, the Pixelbook came with an impressive 2,400 x 1,600 display, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, and an Intel Core i5 processor – the kind of specs that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a high-end laptop.
The goal was to challenge people’s preconceptions about what a Chromebook is, while also inspiring other Chromebook makers (Google, of course, also stands behind the Chrome OS operating system that runs on all Chromebooks, so has an established importance in the success of all Chromebooks, not just their own). That was an arduous – almost impossible – task, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to learn that it didn’t work out.
The biggest problem was the high price – launching at $999 / £999 (about AU$1,500) and rising to $1,649 / £1,699 (about AU$2,400), the lack of sales showed the world just wasn’t ready. for an expensive Chromebook.
Its successor, the Pixelbook Go, was more affordable, but at $849 / £829 (around AU$1,250), it was still much more expensive than most Chromebooks, despite excellent performance and battery life, plus one of the best keyboards we’ve got. even used on a laptop.
Again, the Pixelbook Go remained a niche product, despite rave reviews (including ours).
With Google apparently ceasing development of Pixelbook, it seems like there’s no appetite for premium Chromebooks with price tags to match. Understandable, but we can’t help but be sad that this could mean Chromebooks are doomed to always be seen as budget devices, when they could have been so much more.