Google is combining its Android and hardware teams because of AI.

It’s a big change for the company. It has historically kept strict divisions between its Android team and hardware efforts to avoid privileging its own devices or complicating relationships with other Android phone makers. But in an interview with The Verge, Rick Osterloh and Hiroshi Lockheimer suggest it will all be fine.

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

Osterloh, previously Google’s SVP of devices and services, is now overseeing the new ‘Platforms and Devices’ team, which includes Google’s Pixel line, Android, Chrome, ChromeOS, Photos and more. Lockheimer, once the head of Android, Chrome and ChromeOS, will take on other projects at Google. Sameer Samat, who helped run Android under Lockheimer, will become president of the Android ecosystem. Osterloh and Lockheimer told The Verge that Samat has all of the ecosystem relationships and that everything will be fine.

With the reorganization, Google aims to move faster and do more with its hardware and software. Osterloh used the Pixel camera as an example — there’s plenty of hardware and software that all comes together in camera processing. Having everything under one team makes working on those components faster.

Google also has plans around using AI to change how people use their phones, which makes bringing the Android and hardware teams together even more important for more quickly integrating new AI capabilities.

In general, Osterloh said he wants to make things faster. More software updates more often, more products more often. It remains to be seen how this will all work out for a company with a reputation for pushing out products and then killing them off.

Source: The Verge

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