Motorola's former president returns to Google to head new hardware division

Rick Osterloh will oversee Nexus devices, Chromebooks, OnHub, and Google's ATAP division, as well as Google Glass.

rick osterloh

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Rick Osterloh may no longer be head of Motorola, but he'll still be plenty involved with Android hardware. Recode reports that the former president has been officially hired by Google to run its hardware division.

Osterloh is Google’s newest senior vice president of hardware and will report directly to CEO Sundar Pichai. He’ll be overseeing the company’s Nexus devices, as well as other consumer hardware, including tablets, Chromebook laptops, OnHub, and even Google Glass. He’ll also be heading up Google’s ATAP division, filling the executive hole created when Regina Dugan left for Facebook’s hardware division.

Why this matters: This hire marks Osterloh’s triumphant return to the Google fold. His tenure as president of Motorola began when Google was at the helm, and ended under Lenovo's leadership, about two years after that acquisition. Osterloh lost his job amid a string of layoffs and restructuring at Lenovo.

Google itself has had a history of rocky hardware launches, though it’s been slowly steadying the ship with a few successes, most notably last year’s Nexus devices. It’s planning to follow up with a consumer-ready Project Tango smartphone—made in conjunction with Lenovo. It’ll be interesting to see how Osterloh manages juggling so many different hardware divisions, including partnering with his former employer.

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