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Android founder Andy Rubin steps aside for Google Chrome’s Sundar Pichai

Chris Mayer
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The man behind the smartphone operating system will focus on new projects at Google, and makes way for Chrome VP.

The founder of Android, Andy Rubin has stepped aside from his role behind the mobile platform, to take on new projects at Google.

As revealed in a blogpost from Google CEO Larry Page, the man considered the father of the open source smartphone has “decided it’s time to hand over the reins,” leaving his role as Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content “to start a new chapter at Google.”

Rubin has been synonymous with the operating system, since founding Android Inc. in 2003, seeking to develop smarter location-aware mobile devices. Two years later, Google came calling and the rest, as they say, is history.

Page outlines some of the stats which have led Android to the top in around a decade’s worth of hard work, making it the world’s most used mobile operating system:

“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”

Taking over from Rubin is Senior Vice President of Chrome, Sundar Pichai, billed as the rising star at Mountain View by some, and is best known for his part in Google’s browser, Chrome, as well as the delivery of Chrome OS. 

Some quarters have suggested that Pichai’s appointment could pave the way for Android and Chrome OS converging in the near future, especially since he will in charge of development of both projects. Pichai told Wired last month that the two had different philosophies and Google would continue to push both.

“This may enable the applications to even look the same across platforms and users don’t even care about the underlying technology,” explains Pichai. Whether tighter integration is on the cards moving forward remains to be seen.  

Rubin’s legacy shouldn’t be understated though. Android now holds around 70% of the global smartphone market according to Strategy Analytics, and continues to be innovative seven major releases in. That and much much more is testament to Rubin’s vision.

The mobile ecosystem has grown demonstratively in Android’s ten year stay – under new leadership can this continue? We certainly hope so.

Image courtesy of Joi

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