Andy Rubin is stepping down as the lead of the Android team, Google CEO Larry Page announced in a surprise post on Wednesday. It’s a shocking move, especially because Rubin has been the head of Android since before it was even a part of Google, but rumors surfaced last summer suggesting he had plans to leave the company entirely. Rubin first pitched Android to Google in 2004, back when smartphones weren’t nearly as powerful as they are today.
“He believed that aligning standards around an open-source operating system would drive innovation across the mobile industry,” Page said. “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.”
Sundar Pichai has been tapped as the new head of Android, Larry Page said, and he will continue to work on the Chrome and Google Apps teams as well. It’s unclear what Rubin’s next project will be, but Page said he will “start a new chapter at Google.”