Android founder quits Google to build robots


Former Android head Andy Rubin answers questions in 2008. Photo: Karitsu/Flickr CC

Andy Rubin, co-founder and former head of Android, has left Google to start up a hardware incubator dedicated to building robots.

Rubin helped establish Android as the world’s most widely-used mobile operating system after it was bought by Google in 2005, before switching to run Google’s robotics business last year.

Like the skunkworks project that was the original iPhone division at Apple, Rubin insisted that the Android team existed as a secretive department within the usually open Google, even down to ensuring the Android group had its own lunchroom on the Google campus for a while.

Scott Strawn, an analyst at research firm IDC, says that Andy Rubin’s departure is surprising and sounds unplanned. “If it was voluntary on Mr. Rubin’s part, you would think he would see part of the robotics project through to completion to have something to show publicly before leaving,” he said.

The Android division was taken over by Google exec Sundar Pichai back in 2013. Pichai’s approach has been far more open than Rubin’s, keeping both handset makers and network operators in the loop about what Google is working on.

Source: Wall Street Journal