Android’s Andy Rubin gets replaced by Sundar Pichai

Larry Page, the CEO of Google, announced today in a laconic post on the company’s official blog that Andy Rubin, the head honcho for everything Android at Google, would “hand over the reins [of Android] and start a new chapter at Google”.

Page went on to describe how Rubin, coming from a small mobile company called Danger, came at Google nearly a decade ago with a vision to create an open source mobile platform that would solve the problem of extreme fragmentation. Danger was later acquired by Microsoft in 2008.

Rubin will still remain at Google but his future role at Google has yet to be sketched out. It looks therefore likely that Sundar Pichai, who will now be the new lead for Android and is already the front man for Chrome and Apps, will be the one to oversee the delicate but unavoidable merger between Android and Chrome OS as the only captain of the boat.

It has been more than three years now since Sergey Brin predicted, rather ominously, that Android and Chrome OS would merge as devices converged. Android 4.0 ICS and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean have been adopted on tablets, smartphones and increasingly on other form factors (HDMI PC-on-a-stick, hybrids and even laptops).

Chrome OS’s success has been more subdued with sales of devices based on the cloud-focused platform (desktop SFF PC and laptops) being less than stellar at least compared to Android.

However, Chrome OS feels like a more versatile platform compared with Android and it appears likely that a future version of Android will have a big chunk of Chrome OS DNA baked in as Google prepares to be the first company, before Microsoft and Apple to have a single, unified OS.