Is This Industry Giant Moving Out?

The rumor mill grinds on. This weekend, gossipers had it that Google's (NAS: GOOG) Android boss and inventor, Andy Rubin, was headed for greener pastures. Industry watcher Robert Scoble caught wind that Rubin will join a start-up named Cloudcar -- unfortunately not a maker of flying automobiles but a cloud-based in-car information wrangler. Scoble passed the juicy tidbit on to the public -- appropriately enough, using his Google+ account.

Rubin's exit from the Android project would be big news indeed. The mobile computing platform he started building way back in 2003 has become the biggest and fastest-growing product of its kind, outpacing even Apple (NAS: AAPL) and its iPhone/iPad solution. So Scoble dared Google's upper echelons to straighten the rumor out: "If it's not true, it's easy for someone like [Google CEO] +Larry Page or [social business VP] +Vic Gundotra to signal such in the comments here, not to mention Andy himself," he wrote.

Rubin stepped up to the plate with a pair of Twitter and Google+ updates. As it turns out, he's providing free office space for Cloudcar and other startups but has no plans to leave Google or Android. So let's put that rumor to bed.

He also took the opportunity to update us on the speed of Android sales: More than 900,000 Android devices are now activated daily. That's up from 850,000 at the end of February, or 300,000 in December 2010. The growth trajectory seems to have slowed down a bit, but I'm guessing seasonal factors are holding it back. Given the lack of gift-giving holidays and new school years in the spring months, that's hardly the most obvious season for buying or gifting a new phone.

That update might be designed to steal some thunder from Apple's ongoing developer event and announcements of new products. But I don't think it worked. For one, the activation boost is too small to make a serious splash today; For another, the Apple event hardly impressed investors anyway. Cupertino is still not making TV sets, you know. So there just wasn't much thunder to steal.

Not that either Android or Apple iOS needs any extra buzz -- both platforms have established themselves as powerhouses of mobile computing. That's one reason our senior tech thinks the opportunity for Apple investors isn't over, an argument he explains in more detail in our brand-new premium report on Apple. If you'd rather look at broader picture of the smartphone revolution, take a free glimpse at one of our most popular special reports, "The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution," and see why this trend is indeed revolutionary.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorAnders Bylundowns shares in Google but holds no other position in any of the companies mentioned. Check outAnders' holdings and bio, or follow him onTwitterandGoogle+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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