This news certainly puts Google's computer hardware efforts into question, but don't think for a second that Google will lift its foot from the pedal on Chrome OS and Chromebooks on the whole.
According to a report from Business Insider, Google is pulling employees from their laptop and tablet hardware teams, placing them on other projects as the company addresses "roadmap cutbacks". Already, these "floating" employees have been seeking roles within the company's smartphone division, Pixel, and other Alphabet companies, sources say.
The Create unit is said to be responsible for tablets and laptops, namely the Pixelbook series and Pixel Slate. The hardware market for laptops is fiercely competitive, and all of Google's (overpriced) efforts in this space have failed to capture the market.
Right now, the Google Pixel phone project doesn't seem to be impacted by these changes, but the people with knowledge of the restructuring told the cited source that several projects have been canceled in the laptop and tablet division.
Manufacturing jobs have reportedly not been affected which implies that Google is only reassessing its plans for future products and the near-term devices will be launched as per plans. Most Chromebooks that are not manufactured by Google itself are much lower priced, like Samsung's Chromebook Plus which starts at $499.
Rumors of a Pixelbook 2 have been swirling since the company's hardware event last October though it has yet to be released. The Pixel Slate was a weird Chrome OS tablet with a detachable keyboard, made as a competitor to the Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad Pro.
The move comes after the group received pressure to turn Google Hardware into "a real business" from higher-ups at Google/Alphabet.
Downsizing its laptop and tablet division comes nearly three years after Google unified its hardware efforts under the leadership of Osterloh.