Andy Rubin, Google’s former Android chief, is set to launch a consumer hardware business working across areas including mobile and smart home, Bloomberg reported.
With a team of around 40 recruited from his former employer as well as rival Apple, the executive is apparently looking to create “a platform company designed to tie multiple products together”. However, this also includes a hardware effort, centred on a high-end smartphone with edge-to-edge screen and connector port to run accessories including 360-degree cameras.
The report said Rubin attended CES 2017 earlier this month to discuss the project, including meetings with operator Sprint.
This is an area that Google and Apple have targeted, taking Android and iOS respectively from smartphones into other connected home products. While Rubin and his small team have certainly picked a battle, the executive has good credentials in the industry.
For example, he is founder and CEO of Playground, a $300 million investment fund and incubator backing entrepreneurs readying “software defined hardware”. This effort includes participation from contract manufacturer Foxconn, which Bloomberg said is in the frame as a partner for the new business.
It is not the first time the ex-Android chief was linked with a hardware project.
According to the latest report, Rubin set up a company called Essential Products late in 2015, and last year registered “Essential” as a trademark for devices and platform software.