Google’s made a giant mistake by canning the Pixelbook


OPINION: Google has a repute for binning main tasks after a number of minor bumps within the highway. Google Glass and Google Daydream have each kicked the bucket in recent times.

And this week, The Verge reported that Google is cancelling its subsequent Pixelbook laptop computer, and shutting down the group behind it. Contemplating Google’s observe file, this shouldn’t come as a serious shock.

However I actually thought the favored Pixelbook was one of many few gadgets secure from the Google guillotine, and I can’t fairly perceive the corporate’s reasoning for canning it. 

The Google Pixelbook first launched again in 2017, and was thought-about a premium Chromebook that confirmed different producers that ChromeOS-powered laptops might supply as a lot model as a Home windows clamshell. 

Pixelbook lead
Google Pixelbook laptop computer

It wasn’t good, that includes poor audio system and a value that got here too near high-end Home windows laptops such because the MacBook Air. However it was nonetheless a fantastic choice for many who just like the simplicity of ChromeOS but craved a premium moveable.

In my eyes, the follow-up Pixelbook Go was even higher. Google watered down the specs with a view to give the moveable a extra reasonably priced value, coming in at simply £629. And whereas it’s attainable to search out even cheaper Chromebooks, few had such a top quality metallic construct and the choice for a 4K display screen. 

There are only a few Home windows laptops that may compete with the Pixelbook at that value – solely the Floor Laptop computer Go 2 springs to thoughts. However sadly, Google hasn’t up to date the Pixelbook Go since 2020, so it’s now feeling slightly outdated.

That’s a fantastic disgrace, because it’s a good time for Chromebooks. Qualcomm has made nice strides with its laptop computer processors, seeing a wonderful efficiency and energy effectivity for portables such because the Acer Chromebook Spin 513. And whereas Google has beforehand caught with Intel chips, I don’t see why it couldn’t strike a cope with Qualcomm for not less than the bottom configuration. 

View from top of a black Pixelbook kept on a white background
Google Pixelbook Go laptop computer

We’ve additionally began to see high-end options trickle right down to the Chromebook market. It’s now attainable to see Chromebooks with OLED panels and fingerprint scanners, providing an analogous expertise to Home windows laptops that value twice as a lot. 

ChromeOS has actually matured through the years too, and is now a fantastic various to Home windows for many who need a extra streamlined working system. The rise of cloud streaming additionally allows Chromebooks to play video games, making them extra versatile than ever earlier than. 

With Google solely launching Google Stadia a few years in the past, it will make lots of sense for the corporate to push its personal Chromebook as the very best moveable platform for the cloud gaming service. 

Home windows laptops solely appear to be getting costlier too. The Honor MagicBook sequence was among the best worth Home windows laptops available on the market, however the newest MagicBook 14 (2022) mannequin is occupying an analogous value level as Apple’s MacBook Air. In consequence, I absolutely anticipate Chromebooks to turn into a extra standard choice for these unwilling to spend over £1000 on a laptop computer. 

Honor MagicBook 14 (2022)

The Chromebook market is trying more healthy than ever, so it’s an actual head-scratcher why Google has determined to cancel future Pixelbook tasks. It’s not a fantastic look from the corporate that develops ChromeOS. 

The Verge made an excellent level that the Pixelbook’s job is over, as Google doubtless solely wished to design it as a method of exhibiting the potential of future Chromebook laptops. However why cease there? 

I’d like to see a Pixelbook with a foldable display screen, or one other clamshell design with a 4K OLED show at an reasonably priced value – think about how a lot of a killing that might make if out there at an reasonably priced value. 

It could be nice to see Google create its personal laptop computer chip, happening the Apple M1 route. Stories from CNBC steered that Google was planning on doing precisely that following the reveal of its Google Tensor chip for the Pixel smartphones. However with the Pixelbook seemingly scrapped, I’m beginning to doubt whether or not that Google-made laptop computer chip will ever see the sunshine of day. 

I additionally assume that ditching plans for the Pixelbook hurt Google’s repute in the long term. It has canned so many {hardware} tasks at this level, that I’d be hesitant to ever buy Google {hardware} sooner or later. 

So with all of that in thoughts, I believe it’s a giant mistake for Google to cancel plans for the Pixelbook. However Chromebook followers shouldn’t be too disillusioned, as I’m certain the business will proceed to blossom with the likes of Acer, HP, Lenovo and Samsung main the cost. 

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focussed opinion column the place we delve deeper into the world of computer systems, laptops, parts, peripherals and extra. Discover it on Trusted Opinions each Saturday afternoon.