Andy Rubin Says He’s “An Entrepreneur At Heart” In Message To Android Partners About Changing Role

Google’s Larry Page today announced in a blog post that former Android chief Andy Rubin would be stepping down from that position and moving on to something else within the company to be replaced by Chrome VP Sundar Pichai. Now, The Wall Street Journal has obtained an email to Android partners from Rubin describing his pride in Android and his reasons for taking a new role. The email is quoted in full below:

Dear friends,

In November of 2007 we announced the Open Handset Alliance with 34 founding members. Today, I’m grateful to the over 85 OHA members who have helped us build Android and drive innovation at such an incredible pace. The Android ecosystem has seen tremendous growth since the launch of the very first Android device in October 2008. The volume and variety of Android devices exceeds even my most optimistic expectations — over 750 million compatible devices and counting!

At its core, Android has always been about openness — the idea that a thousand brains are better than one. Just as the ecosystem has grown, so has our team at Google. I am incredibly proud of the phenomenal group of people that spend their days (and nights) building the Android platform and services. Just look at last year…a lean yet incredibly ambitious team released Jellybean with Google Now, launched Google Play in many languages and countries and collaborated with several partners to build three new Nexus devices to help drive innovation in the ecosystem.

Today, the success of Android combined with the strength of our management team, gives me the confidence to step away from Android and hand over the reins. Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Hiroshi Lockheimer — who many of you already know well — plus the rest of the Android leadership team will work closely with all of our partners to advance Android and prepare the platform for new products and services yet to be imagined.

As for me, I am an entrepreneur at heart and now is the right time for me to start a new chapter within Google. I am amazed by what we have accomplished from those early days (not so long ago!), and remain passionate about the power of a simple idea and a shared goal — an open source platform freely available to everyone — to transform computing for people everywhere.

Thank you for your support,

– andy

Rubin’s missive ticks all the right boxes: Reaffirm confidence in the department he built with some flattering stats; talk about how the team remains strong despite the change in leadership; praise the incoming general; close with a strong statement about the continuing value of the mission.

What Rubin’s note doesn’t say is where exactly he’ll be headed next. He does note that he’s “an entrepreneur at heart,” and Frederic suggested that his next role may be in Google’s X Lab, which is where the company houses its more ambitious projects. It is true that he’d probably be free to pursue things there in a much more ‘entrepreneurial’ manner than heading up one of Google’s most established divisions.