Sad news today. Andy Rubin, who co founded Android is leaving Google to start an incubator for startups. Rubin was in charge of the Android division until March of last year, when he shifted to the lead of the nascent robotics effort.
Google acquired Android back in 2005, and Rubin was instrumental in building it to be the most widely used mobile operating system in the world.
Google’s Andy Rubin will be on the list of people that Apple plans to bring to the stand during its upcoming court battle with Samsung. Rubin, who left the Android team almost a year ago, would be cross-examined about the development of Android, specifically the features that Apple claims are in violation of their patents. Among the numerous Apple v. Samsung battles, this will be the first time that Rubin has been called to the stand.
Of course, he’s not the only one from Google to be called to the stand. The list includes, Google’s head of Android Marketing, Kenzo Fong; VP of engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer; User Experience researcher, Ann Hsieh; software developer, Fred Quintana; and a former employee Helena Roeber.
As many of us know, Android originally started as a project by Andy Rubin as a company completely separate from Google. It wasn’t until 2005 that Google scooped up the mobile operating system, and a few more years until we actually saw it make an impact on the mobile market. However, it turns out that Google wasn’t Rubin’s first choice to find funding for Android. The Android team originally tried to get one of the biggest manufacturers to take up the project.
In 2004, Andy Rubin and the Android team flew to South Korea to talk with Samsung about securing funding for Android, but instead of any enthusiasm, Samsung reportedly laughed the team out of the board room, considering their small development team size. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but Samsung still laughed at the group of guys that would eventually go on to completely flip the smartphone industry on its head. Fast forward a few years, and Android is arguably one of Samsung’s most valuable assets.
Yesterday, the buzz was about Amazon’s vision to deliver packages via drones, but something that might be a little more closer to reality is Googles “moonshot” robotics program. The New York Times is reporting that former Android lead Andy Rubin is in charge of the efforts. Of course Google is tight-lipped about the project, but we know they are serious since they purchased seven technology companies to push this project forward.
Before you go thinking that you will be buying a Google robot for your home sometime soon, it appears Google efforts (at least in the beginning) are concentrated on manufacturing such as electronics assembly and competing with companies like Amazon in retailing.
Android is used by over 50 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers, and according to co-founder Andy Rubin, it may not have been that way. Andy spoke at an economic summit in Tokyo, and revealed that Android was originally intended for cameras. The idea was to create smart cameras that easily connected to PCs. However, once the smartphone market started to grow exponentially, the OS was rebuilt to work on mobile phones. In April 2004, Andy pitched the idea of “a camera connected “wired or wireless” to a home computer, which then linked to an “Android Datacenter”, to investors. Just five months later due to declining growth in digital cameras, Android was reborn as an “open-source handset solution”.
Last month Google CEO Larry Page announced Android founder and team member Andy Rubin was moving on to something new at Google. In his place, Sundar Pichai will be taking over the lead on Android. While all parties have been pretty mum on the subject of what Google was up to, that has not stopped the rumor mill from cranking up and trying to read between the lines. Recently, some folks with Business Insider spent some time speaking with insiders and former Google employees to see if they could piece together a better understanding of the situation.
Andy Rubin was a major part of Android ever since Google acquired the company in 2005, and Andy left his position with Android last week to work on something else inside Google. At Business Insider’s IGNITION Mobile conference in San Francisco, Jessica Lessin spoke with Samsung chief product officer Kevin Packingham. Kevin mentioned that Samsung’s relationship with Google has strengthened over the past couple years, and praised Sundar Pichai who will be replacing Andy, saying that he’s a “a super-nice person” and “very collaborative”. While there were good things said about Rubin, Kevin said that once he made a decision, “You weren’t going to get him to deviate from that position.” Stubborn or not, Andy’s decisions have clearly paid off.
Source: Business Insider
Andy Rubin has been instrumental in getting Android to where it is today and is leaving the Android team. In an official blog post from Google CEO Larry Page, Andy is handing over the position to Sundar Pichai to “start a new chapter at Google”. Sundar has worked on Chrome, Google Apps, and Android since 2004. From the blog post:
“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.”
Larry also talked about the growth of Android with partnerships of over 60 manufacturers, 750 million devices activated globally, and 25 billion apps downloaded from Google Play.
Source: Official Google Blog
Infamous Tech Blogger Robert Scoble stirred up a frenzy this weekend when he posted a rumour on his Google+ account suggesting that Andy Rubin was all set to quit Google. Scoble claimed that Rubin was leaving to take charge of a startup company by the name of CloudCar. Just as quickly as the rumour started, Rubin took to his Twitter and Google+ accounts and promptly ended it. The message on Twitter was to the point however his Google+ account offered a bit more of an explanation as to where the rumour surfaced from. It turns out that CloudCar is run by some friends of Rubin who generously offered up some office space in his Los Altos startup incubator to help the team kick off.
With the eyes of the tech world firmly fixed on him, Rubin used the spotlight to drop in a few Android statistics. Official Google certified Android activations are up to over 900,00 per day. Android’s momentum shows absolutely no sign of slowing down and I would not be at all surprised if Google hit 1 million activations per day by the time Google I/O comes around.
Google’s chairman looks to be proclaiming Google’s humility by asserting Apple’s “competitive threat”. Apple Insider reports Eric Schmidt responded to questions from the senators after a hearing in September. Schmidt writes “even in the few weeks since the hearing, Apple has launched an entirely new approach to search technology with Siri, its voice-activated search and task-completion service built into the iPhone 4S”. When addressing his previous statement in September 2010 where he denies Apple and Facebook were a “competitive threat”, Schmidt goes on to say “my statement was clearly wrong… Apple’s Siri is a significant development– a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search”.