Andy Rubin, the man who brought the Android operating system to smartphones, is leaving Google to reportedly set up a hardware incubator.
Rubin had been with Google for nine years, joining the company following its acquisition of Android in 2005. Since then, the OS has become the world's most popular. According to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Android is running on 73.9 percent of smartphones across Europe. Apple is a distant second, with a 15.4 percent share. Globally, there are one billion Android users.
In a statement, Google CEO Larry Page said: "I want to wish Andy all the best with what's next. With Android he created something truly remarkable-with a billion plus happy users. Thank you."
Rubin had stepped back from involvement in the Android team in March last year to reportedly work on robotics for Google. He was replaced by Sundar Pichai, who at that point was responsible for the PC-based Chrome OS.
Pichai's influence at Google has steadily increased during the past 18 months. The forthcoming Lollipop version of Android is designed to bring a unity between Google's products on smartphones, tablets and desktops through what it calls Material design.
Among Pichai's projects has been Android One, an attempt to bring low-cost smartphones to the developing world, Android Wear, its operating system for wearable technology and Android Auto, its connected car interface.
Earlier this month, Pichai was put in charge of Google's products, with his responsibility stretching further to cover the likes of search, maps and Google+.