In a small meeting with journalists at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Google’s senior vice president for hardware Rick Osterloh dropped a little bit of news: It looks like the Pixel laptop — Google’s premium Chromebook and the original product bearing the Pixel name — has hit the end of the line after just two iterations.
The Pixel brand these days is now being used for Google’s new line of smartphones, which have done pretty well in the market, although the company has had some issues with supply and keeping up with demand, Osterloh said.
There may be future products that use the Pixel name and concept of building Google products from the ground up, integrating Google’s software into Google’s own hardware, but he hinted that laptops are not likely to be one of those categories.
When asked if Google had plans to produce any more Pixel laptops, Osterloh said that the company had “no plans to do one right now.” He added that the versions that are already out in the market have totally sold out and that there are no plans to make any more of those, either. Indeed, if you go to the Google Store today, you won’t find any Pixel laptops for sale, though there are plenty of third-party Chromebooks available there.
The company is not, of course, talking about Chrome OS. “Chrome OS is a huge initiative in the company,” Osterloh said. “Google hasn’t backed away from laptops. We have the number two market share in the U.S. and U.K. — but we have no plans for Google-branded laptops.”
The Pixel was always meant to be Google’s example of what a premium Chromebook could look like. They were never intended to sell in high numbers — and few people were probably willing to drop $1,299 for a laptop that only let you run the Chrome browser when it first launched in 2013. Instead, the Pixel was always meant to be aspirational. It was the first Chromebook to feature a touch screen, for example. It was also the first hardware device that showed that Google could build vertically integrated devices that could compete with the likes of Apple.
The second iteration of the Pixel Chromebook built upon the foundation of the first one. In terms of design, they were almost identical. This one, however, was even more powerful. It also featured USB-C charging ahead of virtually any other laptop line. The Pixel 2, however, was discounted without a replacement last August. In addition to using the Pixel brand for its new phone, Google is also still selling the Pixel C tablet.
Update: Never say never! Osterloh sent us this additional comment after we published: “Regarding the future of Google-branded laptops (whether called Pixel or not), I should clarify that we don’t have any plans to discuss at this time.”