Just like iOS at Apple, the new head of Android at Google isn't a mobile guy

Just like iOS at Apple, the new head of Android at Google isn't a mobile

Google has just announced that Andy Rubin, the founder and head of Android, is stepping down, and will be replaced by Sundar Pichai, the head of ChromeOS. Larry Page broke the news on the official Google blog:

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!

This marks just the latest transition in what's been transformative few months in platform management. Late last year [Apple let senior vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall go and handed mobile over to then head of OS X, now head of all software, Craig Federghi. Shortly thereafter, Microsoft let Windows head Steven Sinofsky go. Prior to that, they let the architects of their devices division, Robbie Bach and J. Allard go.

The Apple parallel is the closest, of course. We don't know the whole story behind either shuffle -- you can read Rubin's letter to Android partners at the Wall Street Journal -- but in both cases, for all intents and purposes the head of mobile was replaced by the head of desktop, and the divisions will now continue under their unified leaderships.

Let me repeat that part -- in an era when mobile is increasingly first, the biggest mobile operating systems on the planet have been given over to desktop guys to run.

Make of that what you will.

Source: official Google blog via Android Central

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Just like iOS at Apple, the new head of Android at Google isn't a mobile guy


Very interesting and something I didn't think about when Forstall and Sinofsky left their respected jobs. We will see that does to the industry.

I would hope these desktop guys will take take what the mobile programmers know very well: the need for mobile iOSes to be compact and efficient in use of hardware resources. Desktop OSes could use that.

Personally, I'm very happy with this change. I think its great. Now with a new person at the head, maybe they can recode that shitty Android OS. The only reason I left Android was because those applications were opening themselves, so I ditched my Razr Maxx and reactivated my iPhone 4; however, this time a round I jailbroke and I now find this better than my Razr Maxx.

I miss two things, amazing battery and LTE. The iPhone 5 has LTE and so will future generations. The battery on the other hand has me worried. Stupid Apple and their 1440 mAH battery size.

I think that these kind of moves have everything to do with pushing operating systems closer together kind of what Windows 8 was trying to do. Microsoft tried to make it the same experience but its not. I do think we need a very similar one though where everything works seamlessly together using the cloud. I think Apple and Google know that this is were we are going and put these men and the tools they have to try and pull the two worlds together. Its a very exciting time.

@imdozer78 "Microsoft tried to make it the same experience but its not. I do think we need a very similar one though where everything works seamlessly together using the cloud"
I partly agree with you, though I actually do think it should be the same experience, but different implementations if it, as Apple is doing, and as I assume Google will do (would not be surprised if Chrome OS is rebranded Android at some point) the problem is it isn't one OS, as Microsoft is trying with Windows 8.
Many long time Mac users don't like the 'dumbing down' of OS X. I am a long time Apple/Mac user (since 1983) and used every version of Mac OS. I like what they are doing. The Back to Mac direction is perfect. I don't have to think about it, it gets out of the way, and lets me focus on my work. Seemless experience from my iPhone to my MacBook Air to my iPad to my iMac.
I do think a few more things need to be brought over from OS X to iOS, but know they can't do it all at once.

Yes I agree, using everything together brings a hassle-free and a very organized environment. Apple and google will indeed bring some exciting products in the near future; i.e. Google glasses. I can't wait the iPhone 6. Let's just hope this new move helps technology out.

Innovation..innovation...innovation, it seems as if bringing in different programmers such as desktop programmers into the mobile world is starting to be a trend between different companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft. I think this will bring more mobile device innovations for hardware and operating systems to come.

Hopefully they can work on merging the two to make it a more uniform experience across all devices both mobile and desktop

If Android goes towards ChromeOS I see that as a bad thing. ChromeOS is a useless browser experience that isn't very useful for a lot of people. For the sake of competition and innovation I hope this isn't the case.

Companies will be companies, the smart people will ignore such comments. Personally I just love how iOS works and it's very responsive, the better androids are the same way, with the exception of the quirks in android that keep or push people to iOS.

Today's smart phones are becoming more and more powerful. They are better than the computers that I did my job on only ten years ago. It makes sense, this merging of the mobile and desktop space. Who buys desktops anymore? I've even heard stats claiming that tablets are out selling laptops. In the future, the OS on your mobile will be the same as what is on your "computer" ... if we even have something resembling stationary computers in the next ten to twenty years or so.

I think this is a good move, bringing a more unified experience in both desktop and mobile.

I find this really interesting and fascinating. I say this because apple has always been bragging about how they can take their concepts from iOS on the iPad and iPhone and incorporate them into the designs of OS X. Coming from this point of view, it's strange that they would let go their head of iOS and replace them with a desktop person. Why would Apple play up putting iOS like features into OS X but at the same time replace iOS head with desktop head? Does this mean their going to digress? Or was it always the OS X team that really supported the transfer of iOS features to OS X? To me, this is just interesting and thought provoking.

Does this mean that ultimately both companies want to phase out desktop altogether, by making mobile as good an experience when it comes to productivity?

I am more interested to see what iOS 7 will bring since their change in folks at Apple. This is such a big year for a lot of things!! ;-) It can only get better, right?!