Google is reportedly scaling back its laptop and tablet divisions

Google's Pixelbook

Google's Pixelbook

Anonymous sources have told Business Insider that Google has made these requests to dozens of employees in its Google Create division, which is responsible for products like the Google Pixelbook and Pixel Slate. However, the team reportedly had a "bunch of stuff in the works", and the downsizing will likely "pare down the portfolio" of products.

The affected workers have been told to seek temporary roles within other Google or Alphabet teams.

Among the affected employees who were given notice of the cutbacks in the last two weeks are hardware engineers, technical program managers, and those who support program managers. The tablet is, well, a Google tablet, and as usual, it debuted to a lukewarm reception.

Considering its origins in search and focus on advertising, Google is actually also responsible for a fair bit of hardware these days. Given the competition within the laptop market, this isn't too surprising.

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. It seems as though Google will launch more Android devices even before it announces Pixel 4 late in 2019.

One chink of light is that the team are being asked to redeploy to temporary posts inside the organisation, suggesting that Google wants to hedge its bets on hardware and possibly restart development after a moratorium.

This does not mean we will see Google's Chromebook running Chrome OS going away.

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.

Rumors of a Pixelbook 2 have been swirling since the company's hardware event last October though it has yet to be released. This will have a massive impact on Google's hardware business as BI reports that projects on which the company was actively working on are now cancelled.

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

Google is the disputed king when it comes to software and associated technologies, but the same can not be said for hardware. To be clear, the employees aren't being laid off; they are just being moved to different departments within Google or Alphabet, its parent company.

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