Surprise change at the top at Android comes ahead of expected Galaxy S IV launch

Android chief Andy Rubin is stepping aside — but staying at Google, according to a laudatory blog post from CEO Larry Page today that talked about Rubin having “exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android.” He announced that there have now been 750 million Android activations, which TechCrunch notes is an update from the 500 million figure the company disclosed in September. Page also wrote, “Andy, more moonshots please!”

Chrome chief Sundar Pichai will add Android to his load. So will Android and Chrome, which started as a browser but has evolved into a PC operating system, eventually collide? Merge? “We’re comfortable at Google with two viewpoints, and we are doing both,” Pichai last month said, according to AllThingsD.

The leadership shuffle at the world’s most successful mobile OS comes ahead of the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S IV, the newest model of Android’s hot-selling smartphone, the Galaxy S III. Samsung has scheduled a Thursday event at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the first time it is expected to unveil a smartphone in the United States. The Galaxy S IV is widely considered the main rival to Apple’s popular iPhone. The Galaxy S III’s popularity helped propel Android to nearly 70 percent worldwide market share in the fourth quarter, according to research firm Gartner’s most recent report. And a report by IDC, which the Merc’s Jeremy Owens wrote about yesterday, says Android is poised to overtake Apple’s iOS in the tablet market this year.


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