Motorola ex-CEO is now Google's new hardware division chief

We're more than half a year into Alphabet's formation and we're still seeing the ripples and effects. Some products still haven't found a proper home and some that already do are still being relocated. Take, for example, Alphabet's hardware products, many of which are now coming under a new division inside Google. Interestingly enough, this new Google hardware division will be led by Rick Osterloh, who has now come full circle. Osterloh is partly credited for Motorola's success under Google but left Moto last month after Lenovo completed the mobile company's acquisition.

Osterloh succeeded Motorola president Dennis Underwood after the latter left to become Dropbox's COO. It was during Osterloh's stewardship that Motorola once again became a household name in the mobile market. Motorola, however, would soon be sold off to Lenovo and finally left the company last month, in the midst of news of Lenovo de-emphasizing the "Motorola" brand in favor of a simpler "Moto" (with Lenovo) combination. And now Osterloh is back in Google.

Google's new hardware product line is both odd and interesting, a smörgåsbord of devices that pre-Alphabet Google has had, spanning different operating systems and use cases. In truth, there isn't a common theme among them other than having Google as their source. The division includes the Nexus Android devices, Chromebooks, Pixel C, Chromecast, and OnHub. Interestingly, the division also takes back Google Glass, which was previously filed under Nest.

The Advanced Technology and Projects group, a.k.a. ATAP, is also now under Osterloh, which is somewhat amusing as well. ATAP was actually born in Motorola even before its acquisition by Google, which put it under Osterloh when he became president. ATAP is probably more known for its involvement in the development of the still unreleased Project Ara modular smartphone. Google held on ATAP even after it sold off Motorola Mobility to Lenovo. Now Osterloh is once again in charge of ATAP, which was in need of a new chief after former head Regina Dugan left it for Facebook.

Given the hardware under the new division, there will be some overlap with other Google divisions, specifically, Android and Chrome OS, which is now under Hiroshi Lockheimer. Lockheimer will naturally still have some input on the devices but moving forward will mostly focus on the software aspects of the product. Osterloh's division will, however, not have any hand in Google's other hardware endeavors, like virtual reality or experimental ones under X, formerly Google X.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal