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Google assures Android OEMs that its internal reshuffle is good for everyone

Google had previously maintained a degree of separation between Android (software) and Pixel (hardware).

Published onApril 23, 2024

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Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
  • The head of Alphabet’s Platforms and Devices, Rick Osterloh, has reassured Android OEMs, developers, and carriers of its overall strategy after Google’s internal reorganization.
  • Google previously maintained a separation between its Android software and Pixel hardware, but this separation was dissolved when both teams were merged under the new Platforms and Devices division.
  • Osterloh promises that the reorganization brings together all the right teams to make Google an “even better” partner to the entire Android ecosystem.

Google recently announced that it was merging its Android and hardware teams. This internal reorganization would enable the company to move more quickly to integrate AI across its portfolio. A new department called Platforms and Devices, headed by Rick Osterloh, was created within Alphabet, combining its hardware and software teams.

This is a major internal reorganization that will change the way Google approaches several of its platforms. Google has always maintained a certain level of separation between its software efforts and hardware initiatives, especially for mobile devices. For instance, Android (software) was a separate team from Pixel (hardware), as Osterloh mentioned to The Verge:

We have always kept distinct teams between Android and our ecosystem partners, and our first-party hardware efforts.

This separation allows Android as a platform to be neutral to other hardware partners such as Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, and others. Smartphones from these OEMs would be roughly at the same level as that of Google’s own Pixel devices, without any real unfavorable advantages.

However, with the reorganization, that separation between the teams is no longer present. With the Pixel 8 series, we’ve seen Google give its phones AI technology ahead of other Android OEMs. We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that OEMs could be worried about this deeper integration between Android and Pixel.

However, it seems Google has already thought of the second-order effects of its reorganization. Osterloh has moved forward to calm all Android OEMs on the company’s reorganized direction.

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Rick Osterloh on X

Osterloh’s reassurance to Android OEMs appears to be riding on the back of Google being an “even better partner” to the entire Android ecosystem. We will have to wait and watch how that pans out, especially with future versions of Android. We haven’t seen any AI-centric features on the Android 15 platform at large yet, and Google’s AI efforts have primarily centered around Pixel devices and other Google services. Hopefully, we will see Google’s reorganization bearing fruit for the entire platform; otherwise, it could become difficult to compete with Apple when it launches the AI-filled iOS 18.

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