Last week, Google CEO Larry Page announced on the official Google blog that Andy Rubin would be stepping down as the head of Android. As a fan of Android, part of me is really sad to see him go. This is most likely because I find it hard to imagine Android without Andy Rubin. As one of the original founders of Android, it’s hard not too think of him in relation to Android in the same way most people think of Steve Jobs in relation to Apple. Along with dessert themed releases and their corresponding statues at Google’s headquarters, Andy Rubin has always been an important part of what makes Android what it is.
Andy Rubin’s initial vision for Android was to create a robust, open-sourced mobile operating system that would increase innovation, create choice and transform the mobile industry. It was an insane idea. But what is more insane is that he’s pretty much pretty much achieved what he initially set out to do. Over the past decade, Android has become the world’s most used mobile operating system with more than 750 million Android devices activated throughout the world.
Android is a phenomenal success. And perhaps it’s because Android is such a success that it is time for Andy Rubin to move on. Andy Rubin has built a strong foundation for Android and there is no telling where the OS will be in another ten years. Due to the openness of the platform, there is a strong possibility that it will make the jump from smartphones and tablets and be used to create the various smart devices that we use in our homes, in our offices and while we’re on the go.
Of course the person who will oversee this will be Sundar Pichai, the head of Chrome and Apps at Google and the man who will be taking over as head of Android from Andy Rubin (in retrospect, this would explain the giant Chrome Android statue that Google installed at their headquarters earlier this year). And while most people are wondering what Pichai will do next with Android, others are wondering what will be next for Rubin himself.
Larry Page has asked Rubin for more moon shots and in a farewell email to the various Android partners, Andy Rubin described himself as an ‘entrepreneur at heart’ and says that he is excited to begin a new chapter within Google. If Android has reached the point where it just isn’t ambitious enough for Andy Rubin, then I think we should be extremely excited about what he is going to be working on next.
It probably won’t be Project Glass. It probably won’t be Google’s self-driving car. But it will probably be something even more exciting. Leo Laporte joked on a recent episode of TWIG that Andy Rubin might be working on actual androids or some other project relating to robotics. And while this was said in jest, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is true. Whatever Andy Rubin works on next, if Google is looking for another moon shot, then Andy Rubin might just be the guy to give them on.
It’s going to be a new era for Android. But it’s also going to be a new era for Andy Rubin.