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Andy Rubin, Google VP of Engineering and Father of Android
Influence: There aren’t that many people who have dreamed up not one but two mobile platforms. Andy Rubin, Google’s VP of Engineering and the father of Android, its mobile OS, is one of them. In 2000 he started Danger, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of the iconic HipTop/Sidekick devices that was sold to Microsoft for a rumored $500 million. It was at Danger where Andy first started chasing his dream of bringing the true web — not just the the cramped and ungainly WAP services — to mobile devices. He later left to start Android, a radical mobile OS company that was acquired by Google in 2005 for an undisclosed amount. Unlike Danger, which to date remains a proprietary platform, Android is an open and modular mobile OS aimed at bringing PC-style standardization to the mobile industry, which has so far been pockmarked with proprietary operating systems. Handset makers such as Huawei, HTC, Samsung and Motorola are betting that Android is going to help them slow down the iPhone juggernaut. Barely a year old, Android is to mobiles what Windows was to the desktop. The only question now is what will Rubin do next.