Andy Rubin, co-founder and ‘father’ of Android, has left Google to set up a startup incubator for technology hardware.
Rubin sold his Android company to Google in 2005, heading up its development until March 2013 when he moved to take the lead in Google’s “moonshot” robotics projects.
“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Google chief executive Larry Page said in a statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable – with a billion-plus happy users. Thank you.”
Professor James Kuffner, a researcher at Google and Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, will replace Rubin in charge of Google’s robotics effort, which included a series of acquisitions of robotics companies including Boston Dynamics by Google in 2013. He spent five years working on Google’s self-driving car project and more than seven years at Carnegie Mellon.
Rubin’s new startup incubator will concentrate on new companies developing new technology hardware, rather than internet services.
Rubin left Apple in 1992 and went on to set up Danger, maker of the SideKick-branded smartphones later acquired by Microsoft, and Android in 2003. Google co-founders Page and Sergey Brin bought Android in 2005 without telling Eric Schmidt, then the chief executive of the search giant.
At Google as head of Android, Rubin was known for insulating the Android team from the rest of Google maintaining it like a separate company inside the search giant. The Android group had its own lunchroom within the Google campus, for instance.
His entrepreneurial spirit and love of robotics led him away from Android, and now to his new incubator, where he will help grow new technologies from a hardware perspective.