Google Appoints Sundar Pichai As Android Head; Andy Rubin Steps Down


pichaisundar_3471Google CEO Larry Page has announced that Andy Rubin, the head of Android at Google, will be stepping down from his position and Sundar Pichai will be heading the Android division.

Page noted that Andy Rubin won’t be leaving the company but instead will be starting a new chapter at Google. It’s not immediately clear as to what he’ll be doing next at the company, although Page left a cryptic message in the official blogpost - “Andy, more moonshots please!”, which is a term used by Google for projects which has the potential to improve something by 10x rather than aiming for a mere 10% gain.

TechCrunch report suggests that he will be joining Google’s secretive facility Google X Labs, where the company is apparently working on several futuristic projects focused on wearable computing like Google Glass.

Rubin had come into Google after the company had acquired Android in August 2005 for $50 million, however, the first Android powered mobile phone was sold in 2007. Over the past years, Android has been quite successful in India and worldwide, proving to be quite a competitor to Apple’s iOS.

The company mentioned that more than 750 million devices have been activated globally till now and it currently has global partnerships with over 60 manufacturers. Remember that Google had announced in October 2012, that Android device activation in India had jumped more than 400% and India was the fourth-largest market worldwide for app downloads, with Android users in the country downloading more apps in the last six months, than in the previous three years combined. The company had claimed to have generated 25 billion app downloads globally as of September 2012.

Merging multiple OS?

Interestingly, Google mentioned that Pichai will managing the Android division along with his existing role of Senior Vice President of Chrome & Apps at the company. Remember that Google currently has two operating systems – Chrome OS for its desktop aspirations and Android OS for mobile handheld devices.

Google has previously faced criticism for its choice for having two operating systems. Therefore, it would be interesting to see if Pichai’s appointment will lead to some sort of convergence between Android, Chrome OS and Chrome browsers across other platforms. Earlier in the week, it was revealed that Chrome engineers had added a reference to a Google Now feature in the latest build of the Chrome browser, indicating that Google Now would be soon available on Chrome OS and the Windows version of the web browser Chrome.

Remember that Microsoft had previously announced Windows Phone 8 will be featuring a shared core with the Windows 8 operating system, which essentially meant that Windows Phone 8 will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system with Windows 8. Apple had also introduced several iOS features like Notification Center, Messages and Notes & Reminders among others to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, which was introduced last year.

(With Inputs from Vikas SN)