The report of my death was an exaggeration – Mark Twain
That famous remark by Mark Twain has been misquoted many times, just as Rick Osterloh of Google seems to have been at MWC this week.
Several days after TechCrunch (followed by the entire blogosphere, ourselves included) took Rick Osterloh’s reported comment at MWC, “we have no plans for Google-branded laptops” to mean that the Pixel Chromebook line was dead, Rick has taken to Twitter in an attempt to clear the air.
Hey all, Google's own Chromebooks aren't "dead" as has been reported. They will live on, we just have *no plans to share at this time* 😉
— Rick Osterloh (@rosterloh) March 2, 2017
As you would expect, the new tweet has gained as much traction as the original post with a lot of people looking to read into his words once again. It seems pretty crystal clear to me but people will believe what they want to believe.
Our understanding, from this tweet and from a roundtable discussion we attended with Mr Osterloh at MWC earlier in the week, is that Google’s line of Chromebooks is NOT dead; they just aren’t just telling anyone their plans at this stage. During our meeting with the SVP of Hardware, Rick repeatedly rolled off the same response to many questions about future plans “we have nothing to discuss at this stage”.
This sort of response is very common when asking official representatives for information they simply aren’t ready to give out. How or why this comment, or one very similar to it, was interpreted as confirmation from Rick Osterloh that Google was not making more Pixel Chromebooks is something we’ll never really know. Some of us suspect that the wording from TechCrunch was slightly different (possibly misquoted?) and was thus interpreted incorrectly.
Putting the past few days behind us, for some, including hopeful people like myself, I take this updated position as a sign that a new Chromebook by Google very well may be in development but not ready to be announced just yet. Any such device may or may not be called a Pixel Chromebook although it would be strange to stray away from a name that has now become so central to Google’s premium device strategy.
One thing is for sure is that Google have not officially given up on making Chromebook hardware but there is nothing official to announce just yet.