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15 March 20130 Comments by Jon M

End of an Android era

androidGoogle have just announced that Andy Rubin – the Android co-found and pioneer for the last 10 years – is no longer going to be working on the mobile operating system. CEO Larry Page announced that he will leave his post as Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content and take on a new rôle in the company. His replacement will be Sundar Pichai, who has been with Google since 2004 and helped introduce familiar products such as Google Chrome, Chrome OS, Google Maps, Gmail and the new Google Drive.

Andy Rubin first founded Android Inc. in California in 2003 and it was quickly bought out by Google in August two years later. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that Google’s software was first available on a publicly-released mobile phone. The first smartphone to use Android as its operating system was the HTC Dream.

Since then, of course, Android has been on the up-and-up buoyed by Google’s financial backing and expertise. Google claims to have activated over a quarter of a BILLION Android handsets to date and it ships on well over half of the smartphones sold worldwide. Even the app store Google Play [link] is doing very well with over 25 billion apps now downloaded. And handsets are getting better and better – the latest and greatest Android smartphone is the Google-branded Nexus 4.

However, although it seems nothing can contain the freight train that is Android growth, analysts don’t’ believe it can expand at the current rate perpetually. Even though well over a million new Android devices are activated every day, it would be impossible to grow exponentially forever and sales might be levelling off soon.

It remains to be seen what the purpose of this reshuffle is. It’s possible that we will see great convergence of Android and Chrome in the future. As for Andy Rubin, not much has been mentioned about his new responsibilities or even why he’s leaving Android just now. We have to suspect he will still be involved in Google’s mobile efforts to some extent.

What do you make of this? Is it a wise move by Google or a mistake to tear Andy away from his baby? And what do you make of the rumours about a merger of Android and Chrome OS? Give us your comments below.

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