Andy Rubin, Google's vice-president for mobile and the man responsible for establishing Android as the world's most popular operating system, has stepped down for a new role at the company.
He will be replaced by Sundar Pichai, who is also in charge of its Chrome browser and Apps. In a blog note by Google CEO Larry Page, he said: '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.'
Rubin co-founded Android in 2003, with Google investing in the business and eventually acquiring it in 2005. The first commercially available Android smartphone, the HTC Dream, went on sale in October 2008. According to Google, it has activated more than 750 million devices since then and it accounts for 62.5% of all smartphones bought in the UK. Manufacturers have clamoured to partner with Google in producing its Nexus devices, with LG building the Nexus 4.
Rubin's next steps within Google are unknown. Page said: 'So while Andy’s a really hard act to follow, I know Sundar will do a tremendous job doubling down on Android as we work to push the ecosystem forward.'
He added: 'People are really excited about technology and spending a lot of money on devices. This is driving faster adoption than we have ever seen before. The Nexus program—developed in conjunction with our partners Asus, HTC, LG and Samsung—has become a beacon of innovation for the industry, and services such as Google Now have the potential to really improve your life.'
Enders Analysis analyst Benedict Evans tweeted that Android's explosive growth curve was showing signs of slowing. In September, Google said 1.3 million Android devices were being activated daily. Since September, this figure is 1.37 million devices per day.
Author: Graeme Neill