Andy Rubin steps down as Google's Android chief

Image Credit: Louis Gray / Google+
Credit: Image Credit: Louis Gray / Google+

Andy Rubin brought the open-source Android mobile OS to Google in 2004. On Wednesday he stepped down as that group’s leader.

Andy Rubin

Google CEO Larry Page announced the news on the company’s blog. Sundar Pichai, head of Chrome and apps, will lead the Android team going forward.

[Read: Android's fragmentation issues seen as first task for Google's Pichai]

Page indicated that Rubin will remain with Google, just in a different role.

“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,” Page wrote.

Android growth

Android has become the world’s dominant mobile operating system in the four years since the first Android-based phone, the G1, arrived. More than 750 million Android devices manufactured by more than 60 companies have been activated around the world. Some 25 billion apps have been downloaded from Google Play, the Android app store. Rubin has overseen the development of nine major public releases of Android, including the current version, Jelly Bean 4.2.

“Andy’s a really hard act to follow,” Page wrote. But the company isn’t slowing down its global Android push.

Android in the last quarter of 2012 captured 70 percent of the global smartphone market, according to Gartner. iOS market share was nearly 21 percent, while Microsoft and BlackBerry trail in the single digits.

IDC this week reported that Android is expected to narrowly edge out iOS in tablet sales this year, with Android capturing 48.8 percent of the market to Apple’s 46 percent. In 2012, iOS held 53.8 percent of the tablet market to Android’s 42.7 percent. (Disclaimer: IDC and TechHive are both owned by IDG.)

Android’s dominance is driven by manufacturers such as Samsung, which on Thursday is releasing a highly anticipated Android-powered phone, the Galaxy S IV.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit

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