Google has confirmed that Andy Rubin, the founder and longtime leader of the Android mobile operating system, is leaving the post.
Rubin, who has overseen the open-source Android project on its journey from the ideas board to its current position as the undisputed market leader in smartphones, will be replaced at the helm by Sundar Pichai.
Pichai, who has some very large shoes to fill, is currently Google’s senior VP of Chrome and Apps and will remain in the role as well as taking the reins at Android.
In a post on the official Google Blog, CEO Larry Page paid tribute to Rubin’s contribution, while adding that more ‘moonshots’ were expected from him in his as-yet-unspecified new role at the search and mobile giant.
He wrote: “Sergey and I first heard about Android back in 2004, when Andy Rubin came to visit us at Google. He believed that aligning standards around an open-source operating system would drive innovation across the mobile industry. Most people thought he was nuts. But his insight immediately struck a chord because at the time it was extremely painful developing services for mobile devices. We had a closet full of more than 100 phones and were building our software pretty much device by device. It was nearly impossible for us to make truly great mobile experiences.
“Fast forward to today. The pace of innovation has never been greater, and Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world: we have a global partnership of over 60 manufacturers; more than 750 million devices have been activated globally; and 25 billion apps have now been downloaded from Google Play. Pretty extraordinary progress for a decade’s work. Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android—and with a really strong leadership team in place—Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!”
Recent rumours had suggested Rubin’s plans to take Android forward had clashed with Google’s overall vision for the OS, something which Rubin had denied. It is completely unclear the path that Rubin will now take at Google and whether the company already has a new role in mind for him.
The change at the top of Google’s mobile hierarchy mirrors the switch at Apple with Scott Forstall being relieved of his duties as the head of iOS, in favour of hardware guru Jony Ive. However, Forstall’s departure was far more unceremonious than the standing ovation Rubin is likely to achieve for his Android achievements
Via The Verge