Update: Here's Andy Rubin's farewell letter to Android partners. (via The Verge)

Dear friends,

In November of 2007 we announced the Open Handset Alliance with 34 founding members. Today, I'm grateful to the over 85 OHA members who have helped us build Android and drive innovation at such an incredible pace. The Android ecosystem has seen tremendous growth since the launch of the very first Android device in October 2008. The volume and variety of Android devices exceeds even my most optimistic expectations - over 750 million compatible devices and counting!

At its core, Android has always been about openness - the idea that a thousand brains are better than one. Just as the ecosystem has grown, so has our team at Google. I am incredibly proud of the phenomenal group of people that spend their days (and nights) building the Android platform and services. Just look at last year...a lean yet incredibly ambitious team released Jellybean with Google Now, launched Google Play in many languages and countries and collaborated with several partners to build three new Nexus devices to help drive innovation in the ecosystem.

Today, the success of Android combined with the strength of our management team, gives me the confidence to step away from Android and hand over the reins. Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Hiroshi Lockheimer - who many of you already know well - plus the rest of the Android leadership team will work closely with all of our partners to advance Android and prepare the platform for new products and services yet to be imagined.

As for me, I am an entrepreneur at heart and now is the right time for me to start a new chapter within Google. I am amazed by what we have accomplished from those early days (not so long ago!), and remain passionate about the power of a simple idea and a shared goal - an open source platform freely available to everyone - to transform computing for people everywhere.

Thank you for your support,

- andy

Breaking news from Google this morning - Andy Rubin is stepping down as head of the Android group at Google. He'll bee succeeded by current Chrome OS and Apps lead Sundar Pichai. Andy Rubin will apparently continue working at Google, just in a new - and as yet undefined - role. Here's Google CEO Larry Page's statement on the transition:

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!

Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use—and he loves a big bet. Take Chrome, for example. In 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has hundreds of millions of happy users and is growing fast thanks to its speed, simplicity and security. 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.

Today we’re living in a new computing environment. 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. We’re getting closer to a world where technology takes care of the hard work—discovery, organization, communication—so that you can get on with what makes you happiest… living and loving. It’s an exciting time to be at Google.

Posted by Larry Page, CEO

Why step down now? It's hard to say - Larry's statement doesn't offer much insight. The fact is, Android has changed a lot since Andy came over from Danger Inc., and Google's mobile strategy has shifted from emphasizing an operating system to pushing products - devices, content, and services. We'd heard rumblings that Rubin wasn't exactly interested in that side of the business when the Play Store was spliced out of the Android group last year.

Pichai has been at Google since 2004, and previously lead the Chrome and Apps division. He was allegedly courted by Twitter back in 2011 to be the head of the company's product group, but stuck on at the big G. Pichai played a significant role at last year's I/O keynote with Chrome OS - an event Andy Rubin was absent from.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • cuicuit

    And what will become of Andy ?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      He will become an Apple shill.

      • Danny Holyoake

        I love you.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        Everyone downvoting this has literally no sense of humor.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          They literally work for HTC.

        • Abhisshack D

          True Story Bro

  • Athishay

    Holy cow.. :o

    • Abhisshack D

      Holy Cat

    • Thomas Gladdines

      Holy dog... to make it complete

  • Kokusho

    It makes sense. Andy rubin even if he created it was never the "face of android". It seems like the guy is better at working in the shadow so it's only fitting he'll go work on new project now that Android is mature.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I agree. Andy Rubin has made a point of shying away from being perceived as the 'face' of Android. He's an engineer with an entrepreneurial streak, not a marketer. And that's what Android needs now - a hype man. Andy Rubin is not a hype man.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1653571802 Debadatta Bose

        Maybe he'll work on Google Glass.

      • Larizard

        Pichai is not particularly enchanting either. Every time I watch the Chrome keynote at I/O, I cringe. Duarte does a better job on stage, not to mention the funky shirts.

      • John O’Connor

        I see him heading to Google's X division to help create "the next big thing"

  • Dave


  • Clint Pedersen

    Considering how well Chrome has turned out, I'm excited to see where this goes.

    • NeedName

      "Chrome *OS* lead"

      has Chrome OS really turned out that well?

      • Grumphus

        Turned out well for Acer.

        • NeedName

          you got numbers or just "pleasantly surprised" which could mean they expected to sell 2 and sold 100 — saying things like "they account for 5 to 10 percent of our US sales" is like saying," we really have no idea how many we've sold" OR "we don't want to say because the numbers really aren't that good." Which is it, 5 or 10%? Or neither?

          And when we compare those sales Vs Android. . . what's the point of even having Chrome OS around? — Something that's selling less, has less market share, minimal app ecosystem, and does less. They need to kill it and put Android in its place already! Then integrate into Android whatever they think is good about Chrome OS, but Google is the poster child ADHD.

      • http://twitter.com/simp1istic simp1istic

        Have you used it? It's pretty refreshing IMO, of course i'm pretty bought in to G services.

        • NeedName

          yeah. . . unfortunately it just can't do certain things that I *need,* and I use lots of Google's services. Think it's great for grandma and anyone that only browses the web, social sites, and email. . . otherwise. . . not so great. But why not just use Android then. . .

          That doesn't change the fact that it's still behind what other operating systems can do, including mobile ones, it's behind on app ecosystem, etc. . .

          refreshing != good

          • Guest

            I'd definitely use it more if OnLive was working on it.

        • Abhisshack D

          what does it do extra that a Google chrome browser on Windows PC dont ???!!!!

        • meme

          Chrome OS is good if you want to browse, or possibly if you want to install Linux. But then the 32/64 GB HDD will be full pretty fast.
          Yo dawg! We heard you like browsing so we replaced your OS with a browser so you can browse .........

      • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja Zargh

        No he's the the head of Chrome period, which includes Chrome OS.

  • Ittiam

    We also have a new statistics in the blog... 750 million activations

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1653571802 Debadatta Bose

    I have a huuuuuuuuuuge geeling Chrome OS, Chrome and Android will maybe merged together into Google OS. But what in the world will Andy Rubin be doing? I have no idea.

    Oh, and here comes Google Games. Maybe. Just maybe.

    • http://twitter.com/simp1istic simp1istic

      This is the most confusing thing in the world to me. Having used both quite a lot, what on earth would be the point of merging them, or what would merging them even be? People say this as if it makes sense.

      • didibus

        Ya, there is no logic to merging them. Everything that runs on Chrome OS, already runs on Chrome. So it's technically, already merged.

        • John O’Connor

          I think that we are referring to the applications available in play for android tablets/smartphones. This type of convergence would make sense and I have long been a supporter.

      • New_Guy

        Might not do a lot for Android as a whole...but....it would do a whole hell of a lot for the Pixel and make that $1299 price tag worth every penny.

      • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

        I don't think merging them would be a good idea, but it would be nice to have a way of running Android apps on a Chromebook in a virtualized environment.

        • ElfirBFG

          Like Bluestacks? It can be run in Chrome OS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Ricardo.Jorge.Steve Ricardo Steve

    Just another "proof" that a Chrome OS/Chrome + Android fusion is coming... Let it be good..

  • Angel Cervantes

    Thank you Andy, what you have achieved it's one of the greatest things that has happened in mobile tech, improving the life of milions of users.

    personally, thank you.

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    Whatever they announce on Google IO, just got twice as interesting.

    • http://twitter.com/navjotbatra Navjot

      Which makes me more sad about not being able to get a ticket after spending an hour on the site :(

  • http://www.twitter.com/Genjinaro Genjinaro

    At least he's still working at Google, some guys step off of the pedestal & venture over to weird start-up ventures like "Milk pants" (Google that) technology or napkin tech... Like "WTF?!" why? Your previous job was far more useful/fun to daily life.

    Pichai, I love Chrome so I expect good things.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bexa.raven Rebecca Raven

    Android and Chrome OS morphing into one system?

  • http://twitter.com/samhorne Samuel Horne

    Oh, he's controlling both Android and Chrome? Together? That's interesting. I wonder what's going to happen there... *cough*converge*cough*

  • Freak4Dell

    I like Pichai. He should be good in this role. I do kind of wish it had gone to Duarte, as he really changed Android a lot when he came on, but I suppose maybe he doesn't want to concern himself with the aspects of Android that don't directly involve the user experience.

    • didibus

      It's just harder to manage an engineering project without being one yourself. So many decisions have to made made that don't concern design. He is director of UX, so he's clearly going to work hand in hand with Pichai

  • Dan

    Ok. Now get on with the important news. What's he going to be working on next?

  • heat361

    Maybe now the chrome os team and android team will work as one team now.

    Don't see how Sundar Pichai could be working with two separate teams, it would just make his work more tough.

    • Larizard

      That chrome Bug Droid is making a little more sense now...

  • http://twitter.com/m_sahai Jiggy

    They can merge the OSs later. Could they please merge their gazillion messengers first?!

    • Nigel Wong

      I totally agree. Please just have one google messaging "thing"

  • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

    Hopefully he's going to work on some Google X Lab project. Andy is an absolute visionary, and his place is in the lab dreaming up the ways we'll be using (increasingly Google-centric) devices in the next decade, not as the public face of Android.

    Also, the chrome Android statue in the Googleplex, and ChromeOS+Android being run by the same guy? I really, really hope we're going to see a unified mobile/desktop/web operating system come out of all of this.

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    Maybe he'll work in the background on Project Glass?

  • Ivan Myring

    New pope

  • Ivan Myring

    This man invented one of the greatest things ever

  • ScottColbert

    Andy Rubin steps down and a new Pope is elected. Coincidence? :P

  • Bobby Rouse

    I think it is pretty obvious that we will be seeing at least somewhat of an Android/ Chrome merger at I/O this year.

  • Matthew Fry

    First order of business, make Chrome on Android == Chrome on PC. GO SUNDAR!

  • JonJJon

    It'd be great if he could spend a year with whoever works on Google TV and get that train wreck up and running a good as android has in it's evolution.