Skip to main content

Google is building a hardware division under former Motorola CEO

google hires rick osterloh motorola
When Google bought Motorola in 2011, it was widely known that it was to gather up important patents regarding Android. Many believed, however, that Google would use Motorola’s manufacturing capabilities to build a new hardware division. That all went out the window when Google sold Motorola to Lenovo just three years later.

But after Google lost one of its hardware chiefs, Regina Dugan, to Facebook, the company began seriously thinking about a shake-up in its hardware division. Re/code has learned that the search giant has hired former Motorola President Rick Osterloh as a senior vice president who will report directly to CEO Sundar Pichai.

Related Videos

Osterloh hasn’t been unemployed for too long, as he only left his previous position last month. He will now run the new hardware product line, overseeing Google’s Nexus devices, according to a Google representative that confirmed the news to Re/code.

Android Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer will now work more on the software and platform development side, and Osterloh will take over the hardware development aspect, as well as maintaining the company’s OEM partnerships. A lot the hardware-related projects Lockheimer oversaw are being pushed towardsOsterloh.

The hardware division Osterloh will lead also includes products under the “living room” category, which shows how serious Google is about improving its connected devices for a smarter home. Osterloh will also oversee the Chromecast streaming stick; consumer hardware like Chromebooks and the Pixel C; Google’s wireless router, OnHub; Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division, which includes Project Ara; and Google Glass, which also includes Project Aura (the next iteration of the headgear).

Nest, the smart thermostat — and its CEO, Tony Fadel — is staying separate from Google.

We have reached out to Google for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

Editors' Recommendations

Google Play Store helps find the apps invading your privacy
Instagram app on the Google Play Store on an Android smartphone.

Google has implemented a feature that requires app makers to disclose what data their apps are taking from users. Starting today, Android users will be able to see specific information about their apps' data collection through the Google Play Store. The data is accessible in the Play Store via the "Data Safety" tab listed in the information section for all apps.

With Google's announcement that the feature's rollout is live, the company notes that not all apps will be showing what privacy data they collect immediately. App makers have until July 20, 2022, to provide the Play Store with privacy information, making the feature something of a gradual rollout. It's likely that apps that take more types of data (like social media apps) will take longer to post the required info due to the sheer number of data points they collect when compared to something simpler such as an offline game.

Read more
Why Google suddenly seems to care about tablets again
best Android tablets

Google is no stranger to the tablet game. The company has been building the hardware since the launch of the Nexus 7 in 2012, but after failing to properly compete with Apple’s iPads throughout the rest of the decade, Google allowed its tablets take the back seat to let its far more successful smartphones drive the company’s mobile tech. Now, Google is back to pushing Android tablets and seems to want to be in genuine competition with Apple in the space once again.

As of late, Android tablets are being brought to the forefront of Google’s mobile brand with the upcoming rollout of the Android 12L update. While certainly bringing plenty of new features to other mobile devices, Android 12L pays special attention to tablets by adding features that specifically take advantage of the devices’ bigger screens. 

Read more
Google adds more iMessage features to Android’s Messages app
Google Pixel 6 Pro wallpaper.

Google is upgrading Android's default messages app with support for iMessage reactions and enhanced media sharing as it tries to lure over customers from Apple's iPhones over to Pixels and other Android phones. The new updates are rolling out this week to the U.S. and some worldwide countries.

The biggest change Google is bringing here is support for iMessage reactions, or tapbacks. While Google supports reactions between Android phones, and iPhones support reactions between iPhones, this is the first time both are being cross-compatible -- kind of. iPhone users will now have their tapbacks converted to emoji on Android phones, but Android users will still remain unable to send reactions to iPhones. This does mean an end to "Laughed at," style messages, for Android users at least.

Read more