Rick Osterloh is coming back to Google. The formerÂ president of Motorola, who left the Lenovo-led handset maker last month, has been hired by Google to run a new division toÂ unify the companyâ€™s disparate hardware projects, Re/code has learned.
A Google rep confirmed that Osterloh hasÂ joined the company as its newest Senior Vice President, running the new hardware product line and reporting to CEO Sundar Pichai.
For years, Google has struggled to getÂ sure footing on its various hardware initiatives â€” moving delicately to handle partners and, at times, deliver products that consumers actually use. When one of its hardware chiefs, Regina Dugan, who ran its Advanced Technology and ProjectÂ group, departed for Facebook, we reported that Google was plotting a hardware shake-up.
Here it is now. Osterloh will now overseeÂ Googleâ€™sÂ Nexus devices. HisÂ new hardware division also includes aÂ suite of products called the â€œliving room,â€ demonstrating Googleâ€™s priority on owning that space.
The new division includes:
- Nexus: Osterloh is taking over hardware development on Googleâ€™s flagship Android phone and its OEM partnerships. Heâ€™ll work closely withÂ Android SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer, who will now work more on software and platform development.
- Chromecast: Googleâ€™s TV streaming stick, which is likely its best-selling hardware device. Lockheimer oversaw this.
- Consumer hardware:Â This includes Chromebook laptops and the new Pixel C device, which runs on Android.
- OnHub: The wireless home router used to belong under the Access company within Alphabet. Now itâ€™s under Google and Osterloh.
- ATAP: The portions of theÂ experimental hardware lab that have not gone to Googleâ€™s virtual reality division â€” so, its modular phone effort, Project Ara and others â€” now report to Osterloh
- Glass: The homeless Glass gets a home! Project Aura, the new team that is building the next version of the wearable headgear, among other stuff, is moving under Osterloh. Tony Fadell, Nestâ€™s CEO, who ran Glass since it moved out of Google X last year, is staying on as an â€œadviserâ€ to the team, Re/code has learned. Fadell remains the CEO of Nest, the hardware maker that is a separate Alphabet company.
For the well-regarded Osterloh, it is a return to Google employment, though it is a far broader role than his past ones.
Osterloh worked his way up the ranks at Motorola during Googleâ€™s ownership of the hardware maker, moving from head of product management to president of the business, following the exit of Dennis Woodside for Dropbox.Â He remained as head of Motorola following Googleâ€™sÂ sale of the business to Lenovo, but left last month amid a broader reorganization at the Chinese hardware company.
The move could help make life easier for Googleâ€™s chip and hardware partners who have been working with different parts of the companies on different, sometimes competing efforts.