The Google Pixelbook Go sat in our best Chromebooks page for quite a while since its 2019 debut. Why? It blew us away with a battery runtime of 11 hours and 30 minutes (the average Chromebook lasts about 9 hours and 30 minutes). We were also entranced by its ultra-slim design, colorful, bright display, and solid performance.
However, as 2020 and 2021 flew by, we wondered, "What's going on? Why hasn't Google bothered to update its Pixelbook line?" Well, according to The Verge (who cited "a person familiar with the matter"), Google initially planned on unleashing a new Pixelbook in 2023, but ultimately decided to axe the project as a result of a brutal cost-cutting strategy.
Google Pixelbook 2 project reportedly canceled
Interestingly, ahead of Google's I/O developers' conference, Google SVP of Devices and Services Rick Osterloh told The Verge that the company planned to "do Pixelbooks in the future." And this could have been true — at the time.
According to The Verge's anonymous source, the next-gen Pixelbook was deep into development when Google pulled the plug. The search engine giant dissolved the team behind the nixed Pixelbook and transferred the individuals to other departments inside the company.
Communications manager Laura Been told The Verge that it doesn't comment on future product plans, but added that Google is committed to building a portfolio of products that is innovative and helpful to consumers. As a result, the company often "shifts priorities." It sounds like Been is insinuating that Google is redirecting its focus to products that have a greatest potential to cause a splash in the market (à la the Pixel 6 Pro) — and the Pixelbook, in Google's eyes, is not one of them.
Since the original Google Pixelbook launched in 2017, a lot has changed in the Chromebook industry, especially after the onset of the pandemic. As lockdowns pushed educational institutions to launch remote-learning programs, students scrambled to purchase budget-friendly laptops, and Chromebooks fit the bill. Work-from-home employees picked up Chrome OS devices, too. By Q3 of 2020, Chromebook sales skyrocketed by 122%, according to Canalys.
Consequently, it's surprising that Google doesn't believe that its next-gen Pixelbook isn't worth the investment. However, I've noticed that Google has a predilection for launching higher-end Chromebooks. The Pixelbook, which had mixed reviews, had a starting price of $999 (with an optional $99 stylus). Even though the 2019 Pixelbook Go was priced at $649, some reviewers still bashed the Chromebook for not offering users enough bang for their buck. Android Police, for example, said "Google's cheap laptop is too expensive."
As such, if Google was, once again, planning on unleashing releasing another high-end Pixelbook that caters to a (slim) niche of luxury Chrome OS lovers, it makes sense that Google canceled the project. After all, people drawn to purchasing Chromebooks are typically budget-conscious consumers.
Is Google done with laptops for good? For now, apparently. Who knows what the search engine giant will come up with in the far future!