The Powerwash: A Fond Farewell to the Google Pixelbook

Omar Zahran
6 min readOct 9, 2022

Google’s iconic laptop has been retired, leaving behind a legacy of innovation & inspiration

It is hard to consider any modern laptop as having a memorable or innovative design. After all, the general idea of the laptop has been around since the release of the Osborne 1 in 1981. I am currently typing this from an LG Gram, a laptop that I love but also one that simply looks like a laptop. A few years ago, Google released a laptop that was memorable and exciting that it called Pixelbook. A laptop that I owned and adored. Yet like many Google products, future versions of that product have now been killed off. Usually, when Google kills off a product I am not bothered by it, but this one is different. Google seemed to be taking laptop design in a new direction only to leave us with a one-hit wonder and a lot of what-ifs.

The Vision of a Product

When the Pixelbook was announced in 2017, the Chromebook landscape was a much different place than it is today. At that time Google’s laptop operating system was fledgling and was defined by extremely cheap hardware. These were strictly laptops for elementary school children and not sophisticated devices for higher-level students and users. The Pixelbook with its metal and glass design and $1,000 price tag aimed to change this perception.

From a hardware perspective only, the Pixelbook rivaled the MacBook Pro, Dell XPS 13, and Surface Laptop. This was a lightweight machine that was built incredibly well that showed that Chromebooks were getting serious about escaping their niche. It was this laptop that told the rest of Google’s Chromebook partners that they needed to step up their hardware. That cheap plastic bodies and dim screens with poor viewing angles were not going to cut it anymore.

And by this metric, the device was successful. In the years that followed, HP released higher-end hardware in its Chromebook lineup like the Elite Dragonfly. Samsung brought 4K displays to the Chrome world with the first generation Galaxy Chromebook. Even Dell and Acer developed premium Chromebooks that made the computer world…

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