Google names new Android head as Rubin steps aside

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Sundar Pichai to lead development of smartphone OS, alongside his responsibilities at Chrome.

Android creator Andy Rubin has stepped down from his role as the head of Google’s mobile operating system to take on other projects within the company.

He will be replaced by Sundar Pichai, who will lead the development of Android, in addition to his current responsibilities heading up Chrome and apps development at Google. Wrapping Android into his role could indicate closer integration of the company’s OS and its browser, although Google made no mention of such a move when it announced the staff change in a blog post on Wednesday.

“Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use — and he loves a big bet,” said Google CEO Larry Page. He noted that since its inception in 2008 Chrome has attracted “hundreds of millions of happy users,” despite the fact that people questioned the need for a new Internet browser.

“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,” said Page.

Indeed, in the same blog post he revealed that more than 750 million Android devices have been activated worldwide to date, while 25 billion apps have been downloaded from Google Play.

Rubin is not leaving Google, but the company is not giving much away with regard to his future role.

“Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google,” Page said. “Andy, more moonshots please!”