ANDY Rubin has been replaced as head of Google's Android division by Sundar Pichai, who manages Google Chrome and Apps.
Rubin "has decided to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google", the company's chief executive, Larry Page, wrote in a blogpost.
His replacement, Sundar Pichai, runs Google Chrome and Apps, so this move brings the company's mobile and desktop operating systems under the control of the same person, perhaps implying closer ties between the systems.
Rubin was co-founder and chief executive of Android Inc until Google bought the firm in August 2005. Since then he has been Google's senior vice president of mobile and digital content.
Page did not say what Rubin's new role would be but he said the Android creator had "exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android".
He added: "Andy, more moonshots please!"
Page said that Pichai would "do a tremendous job doubling down on Android". He said: "Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use - and he loves a big bet."
In his note Page also added some numbers, saying that more than 750 million Android devices had now been activated globally and that Google had seen 25 billion apps downloaded from its mobile app store, Google Play.
The next major Android handset release will come tomorrow in New York, when Samsung unveils the Galaxy S4, its new flagship smartphone.
The Korean manufacturer has not revealed any details of the new handset so far but rumours suggest that it will have a high resolution screen, faster processor and a new feature that scrolls the screen based on the movements of the user's eyes.