Android founder Andy Rubin is leaving Google

Former Android head and longtime Googler Andy Rubin is leaving the company, according to reports from the Information and the Wall Street Journal late Thursday. Rubin’s departure comes roughly 18 months after he stepped down from leading the Android team at Google. Back in March of 2013, Rubin ceded his post to Sundar Pichai, who took on leading Android in addition to leading the Chrome and Google apps teams.

Since then, Rubin had been working on Google’s robotics efforts. The company made a number of high-profile robotics acquisitions, but has yet to reveal exactly what it intends to do in this space, and Rubin had been largely absent from the public eye.

The Journal reported Thursday that Rubin will be moving on to launch a hardware startup incubator. His responsibilities at Google will be picked up by James Kuffner, a research scientist at Google that has been part of Rubin’s group there.

A Google spokesperson confirmed Rubin’s departure Thursday, and sent the following statement from Google CEO Larry Page:

[blockquote person=”Google CEO Larry Page” attribution=”Google CEO Larry Page”]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.[/blockquote]

Interestingly, the departure also comes just days after a massive reorganization within Google that included Rubin’s successor Sundar Pichai being put in charge of almost all key product areas within Google, including maps, search Google+, Google Research and more.

Rubin is best known as the public face of Android, the mobile operating system that he initially began to develop with a startup in 2003, and which was subsequently acquired by Google in 2005. But he was also a co-founder of Danger, a company that developed the first cloud-based smartphone, the Sidekick, some 15 years ago.