Andy Rubin’s heart lies with entrepreneurship


It was a bit of a stunner for us all to read the news that the “godfather of Android” Andy Rubin would be leaving the Android team to assume other things within the ranks of Google. The shake-up didn’t leave us with much doubt about Android’s future or any trouble within the walls of the Mountain View fortress — after all, Android is doing better than ever with 750,000,000 activations and reports that Android tablets will overtake iOS any day now.

Indeed, Rubin reaffirmed those thoughts with a letter to the various Android partners Google deals with, otherwise known as members of the Open Handset Alliance. These members consist of the very OEMs and carriers that have helped pushed Android to where it is today. In the letter, Rubin reminded everyone that his heart is with entrepreneurship — in other words, he likes a good project.

His stint with Danger to bring the legendary Sidekick OS to prominence didn’t go undocumented, and he has been with Android since the very beginning. Rubin’s track record is unmatched by many, and this is another way to say he’s bored. He wants something new to build and grow. He’s the proverbial nanny who only makes $5 an hour to take care of a crying, defecating baby, but does it out of the love of giving a baby nourishment and guidance and raising them into a fine young lad.

That’s Andy’s forte, his specialty, and his knack, so to speak. His rumored departure to the Google X team definitely fits that bill. The letter is, among all things, reassuring of the strength of Android and gives no one anything to worry about. Android is fine, folks, but it’s time for another 12 rounds with the next big innovation in tech for Andy Rubin. Read the full letter below.

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

[via The Wall Street Journal]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Maybe he’s leaving cause Android is not as open as it used to be pre-Honeycomb.

    1. He’s not leaving. He’s just taking a fresh assignment.

      1. He’s leaving Android….

        1. Seems like Glass would be a good fit for him… or something else out of Google X.

          1. Glass is almost out of the developmental stage, so it would be kinda late for him to jump in. Something new at X Labs is probably whats happening…..

    2. Lmfao only build that wasn’t release on time was Honeycomb. Pull the code you will see why its terrible. At best it would be consider a Alpha build.

      1. My point was about the openness of Android pre-3.0 not release tables

  2. You guys Remember when we saw the chromed Android robot on the Google campus?

    1. Nice. Can it also mean a near future convergence of Android and Chrome OS.

      1. Could be

  3. Godspeed Andy. I thank him if it wasn’t for him Ubuntu wouldn’t of gotten off their lazy asses

  4. Maybe he will update a Google Sidekick/Hiptop (or equivalent) — an AWESOME phone with a hard keyboard

  5. I remember Hiroshi from the Be Inc days. Now here you have a bunch of people who had to deal with setback after setback (BeOS on mac, BeOS on mac clones, BeOS attempting to dual boot on PC’s, BeIA and Palmsource’s Cobalt) and it all worked out in the end.

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