Recently, Google’s CEO, Larry Page, announced that Andy Rubin, the founder and and former boss of Android at Google, is going to step down and try new projects at Google, while Sundar Pichai, the boss of Chrome, is going to take over the leadership position at Android.
This move raised a lot of questions and created many assumptions about what it could mean for both the future of Chrome OS and Android. Everyone is now expecting some kind of merger between Chrome OS and Android, although no one really knows what that would actually mean, since Chrome already exists on Android.
But one thing that hasn’t been discussed much is what will this mean for the relationship between Google and the manufacturers. One of my expectations from this move is that Android’s upgrade process will become a lot more like Chrome and Chrome OS’ upgrade process.
Chrome and Chrome OS gets updated every 6 weeks, on all machines, and all the upgrades are handled by Google themselves, with no interference from anyone else in the upgrade process, or in how Chrome and Chrome OS work or look. It would be amazing if they could eventually do that with Android, even every 6 months. I have hopes that whatever benefits we’ll get from a merger of Chrome OS and Android, this will be one of them, and probably the most important by far, too.
A new person leading the Android team, and having an exact plan to follow (the one he’s already applying to Chrome), could mean that new kind of relationships and boundaries will have to be established between Google and the manufacturers. This could mean Google would finally put its foot down, so it can give its users what they’ve wanted for years: upgrades for a long period of time, and always on time, just like Apple does it with its iOS devices.
It seems people in the industry fear something else, too, though. They fear Andy Rubin might start working for Motorola, and build some amazing new products there related to Android. Since he has deep knowledge of Android, I could see how they would fear that.
So the future role of Andy Rubin at Google is crucial, said the observers, adding that relationships between Google and Android smartphone makers will intensify if Rubin is assigned for product development at Motorola Mobility.
I wouldn’t put too much effort into worrying about this, though, because the chances that Google would do that are fairly small, either because Andy Rubin wants to do something completely different at the Google X lab, or because Rubin probably wouldn’t want to be only a product manager at Motorola, and have to go through at least 3 levels of upper management to build the stuff he wants (Motorola’s boss, Sundar Pichai, Larry Page), when before he only had to deal with one : Google’s CEO.