In an unexpected announcement on the official Google blog earlier today, Google announced that Andy Rubin will be leaving the Android project. His spot will be taken by Sundar Pichai, who already works on Google Chrome and Google Apps. As John noted earlier today, this could likely signify a future collaboration between Chrome OS and Android, and perhaps even the combination of both projects. But what of Andy Rubin, who is certainly not an insignificant figure? While Google’s blog post made it clear that he will remain at the company, his specific future occupation remains mysterious.

For those not already familiar with Rubin, he co-founded Android Inc. and acted as CEO before and during Google’s acquisition of the project. Naturally, he is quite an important figure at Google and especially Android, and has been extremely involved in development and research concerning Android. Rubin won’t be leaving Google, and instead will soon “start a new chapter” at the company, but his exact duties weren’t made clear in the blog post.

Naturally, Google will want someone with the skills and vision of Rubin to be best able to produce interesting products for the company. There are a wide range of Google projects that he could be working on, but some of the likely options include Google Glass, Motorola’s X Phone, and even Google TV. Google Glass seems to me his most likely destination, as the project is just the kind of unique, ambitious, and slightly odd idea that Rubin seems to do well with.

It also seems possible, however, that Rubin will be leading the development of new and impressive software features for the X Phone, or even working with Motorola after the deal to develop smartphones with more “wow” factor. Wherever he goes, he will bring a great deal of experience, motivation, and likely focus from Google. As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if whatever project Rubin joins is one of Google’s next big things.

We aren’t likely to see much change resulting from this reshuffle any time soon, but I’ll be interested to see how things progress into the future. It is clear that Rubin has a significant amount of talent, so I’m glad to see he will still be working with Google, and anticipate interesting developments resulting from his “secret” new occupation. With Pichai now at the helm, Rubin leaves the Android team in good hands, which should allow him to focus on whatever new and interesting project he will now be working on.

[Google]