Last week Larry Page made a post on Google’s blog announcing that Andy Rubin, the man behind product development on Android since its inception in 2003, was leaving the Android project to “start a new chapter at Google.”
Rubin has played a vital role in constructing Google’s mobile strategy. Page had this to say about his early impact at the company: “He believed that aligning standards around an open-source operating system would drive innovation across the mobile industry. Most people thought he was nuts. But his insight immediately struck a chord because at the time it was extremely painful developing services for mobile devices.”
Why would Rubin leave the project that he created and has lead for nearly a decade? The Verge’s Adrianne Jeffries attributes the departure to two factors: Android becoming too big for Rubin to handle and Rubin’s urge to invent. Or as Jeffries so eloquently puts it: “Android had outgrown Rubin, and Rubin had grown tired of Android.”
Jeffries claims that Rubin is better suited to starting things than to leading a project that is established and no longer has an obvious way forward. His work experience seems to support the claim, as does a recent statement by Googler Urs Hölzle.”I love working with Andy,” he said. “He’s brilliant at setting big goals for the seemingly impossible – and then mobilizing small teams to achieve them.” And for a visionary like Rubin, is there a better place to try something new than in the R&D labs at Google X?
If there’s one product in Google’s pipeline that could use as much help as possible to ensure a successful launch, it’s Project Glass. Set to be released in time for the 2013 holiday season, Google’s smart glasses are going to have to blow people away for consumers to justify buying them in addition to their smartphones – especially if final retail prices are anywhere near the $1,500 price tag on the Explorer Edition being released to early adopters this summer.