Google is reorganizing a number of its hardware teams, which will see layoffs affecting a few hundred roles across its Devices & Services units. As reported by 9to5Google, Google’s first-party AR hardware team is taking the brunt of the blow.

Hardware teams dedicated to Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit are set to be united into a single team, making a number of positions redundant.

A majority of the hardware-related layoffs however are set to affect its AR team. Here’s Google’s statement to 9to5Google:

A few hundred roles are being eliminated in DSPA with the majority of impacts on the 1P AR Hardware team. While we are making changes to our 1P AR hardware team, Google continues to be deeply committed to other AR initiatives, such as AR experiences in our products, and product partnerships.

This comes alongside a wider confirmed layoff that will see “a few hundred” roles made redundant across Google’s core engineering and Assistant teams too, making for around one thousand positions stricken from the roles.

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Having gutted its AR hardware team, Google’s broad commitment to “other AR initiatives” all but imply it’s no longer set to compete with Apple on a dedicated XR device, instead focusing on AR apps and OEM partnerships.

The writing has been on the wall that Google was set to axe its AR hardware ambitions. Back in June, a Business Insider report alleged Google was shelving a multi-year AR headset project, known as Project Iris.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear about the XR headset being developed by Samsung, Qualcomm and Google; Google is tapped to provide software services for the device, as Samsung and Qualcomm partner on hardware.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • ViRGiN

    google is just gatekeeping their play store, while having no means to deliver access to it on their own headset.

  • Xron

    Google axes too many projects really quick, so its not trusty company to buy hardware from…

  • Arthur

    Wildly unfortunate to see conclusively that North’s acquisition was in fact North’s destruction.

  • XRC

    Software as service is considerably more profitable and less risky than productivising hardware for consumer market at scale

  • Foreign Devil

    Seems like Alphabet is falling behind on a lot of technologies. .. I wouldn’t want to own their stock anymore. They might not be a big player soon.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Yeah, because the chromecast is such a crappy device and wasn’t a success………

  • xyzs

    Google is the most unreliable company for products or services longevity.
    They are known to try a bit, then kill it if it’s not a massive profit or success.

    That’s why for me, the less Google, the better.

  • Arno van Wingerde

    Yeah, on the one hand this is another “killed by Google” event. However, the cooperation with Qualcomm and Samsung might mean that Google delivers the software, Qualcomm the Chip and Samsung the hardware, so this must not be a bad thing… provided they actually work on this, rather than just announcing it and then promptly forgetting about it.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Like Meta, Google is a data driven, ads/services oriented software company doing hardware usually only to provide a template. Occasionally dropping projects just means it generated enough momentum for others to launch their own devices, allowing Google to again focus on software and services.

      – Pixel phones demonstrate new features in Android and lead other manufacturers towards better designs (longer support etc.)
      – Pixel Watch was a cooperation with Samsung to rekindle the Android smartwatch market suffering from Qualcomm for years not releasing competitive watch SoCs.
      – Chromecast put Android on TVs, but now many are “smart” by default, often running Android TV, and Google/Apple move towards the open IoT standard Matter to replace the proprietary Chromecast and AirPlay.
      – Nest Hub countered Amazon’s Echo devices, but few companies want to enter the digital assistant market, as neither Google nor Amazon managed to monetize them, and may drop out due to continued losses.
      – Daydream was a partnership with several phone manufacturers, with Google providing the OS and making money with Play Store, and others selling hardware with customized OS. It didn’t work out, moving XR back to internal projects, now superfluous with Samsung (and others) releasing XR HMDs based on Qualcomm’s reference.

  • eadVrim

    The stock market is killing innovation

    • Stealth Ico

      more like google killing itself as always and ensuring their place as the least reliable company to buy hardware from, ever

  • Stealth Ico

    nothing else to add not already mentioned in other comments

    what a mess of a company