Former Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE: MSI) president Rick Osterloh has been officially hired to direct Google’s hardware division, which includes Google Glass, Nexus devices, OhHub, Chromebooks and the company’s ATAP division. This marks a triumphant return to the company that owned Motorola when Osterloh was president. He lost his job about two years after Lenovo acquired the firm.
He will report directly to CEO Sundar Pichai. As Google’s Senior Vice President of hardware, Osterloh will be replacing Regina Dugan, the former executive who left for Facebook’s hardware division. She is now in charge of overseeing a new hardware lab called Building 8.
Before working for Google, Dugan directed the Defense Advanced Research projects Agency (DARPA), which is aimed at developing technology for the U.S. military.
As head of product development during Motorola’s tenure under Google, Osterloh helped develop the Moto X, Moto 360 and Droid.
His newest executive position means that Google Glass initiatives are no longer led by Tony Fadell, the CEO of the smart home company Nest who took that job in January 2015. Still, Fadell will be working as a team adviser.
Osterloh’s new projects
Glass was unveiled in 2012 and Osterloh is now tasked with overseeing Project Aura, the group in charge of reimagining the product.
After Nexus’ success, the company is planning to launch a consumer-ready Project Tango smartphone in partnership with Lenovo, Osterloh’s former employer. This initiative is aimed at producing phones with interchangeable components that snap together in a Lego-like manner.
Osterloh will be also working on consumer products like Pixel C, Google’s tablet with an attachable keyboard; OnHub, Google’s smart router and a hub to control all of the devices connected to the Internet in your house; Chromebooks, the Chrome OS software-powered laptops; and the experimental lab developing Project Ara modular phone.
In addition, Osterloh will be in charge of directing the Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP), which is the company’s home for hardware experiments such as Project Tango. ATAP also includes Project Jacquard, an effort to build a Web-connected fabric.
It’ll be interesting to see how he manages all these efforts and whether he can make Google’s experimental devices available for the real world.