jeffsoesbe (jeffsoesbe) wrote,

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Brush with Fame #21: Google's phone platform

I have followed the recent developments in the Google "phone" (platform) announcement with much interest. This is because the Open Handset Alliance uses software from a company Google purchased called Android. Android was founded by Andy Rubin, who I worked with at Apple for many years.

Andy, or "Rub-Dub" as our boss Jimbo used to call him, joined the super-secret Jaguar (the first RISC Macintosh) project at Apple in 1990, not long after I did. (Zarko Draganic, mentioned in the NY Times article, also worked on Jaguar). We worked together in HiPNeT (the telcom group) on various GeoPort efforts until 1992, when Andy left to work at General Magic. (Zarko went on to found AltoCom, a software modem company later purchased by Broadcom).

Andy and I kept in touch and had meals together or went skating in San Francisco or Stanford. When I moved up to Sacramento but kept my job at Apple, I regularly stayed at Andy's house for the two days I was in the Bay Area. During this time Andy got Alex, the Welsh Terrier who became the Android mascot, and started working at Artemis Research aka WebTV.

Note: One time when I was at Andy's house after he had left General Magic, he was talking about possible next projects. I said "You know what someone needs to do? Someone needs to make a device that hooks up to the Internet and displays on a TV so that ordinary people can use the Internet". Andy said, "Funny you should say that" then showed me the card for Artemis.

I haven't talked to Andy in a while, but we still occasionally send email back and forth. He has worked super-hard, at Apple, General Magic, WebTV, and Danger Inc (aka makers of the Sidekick phone technology), for as long as I've known him. He often tried to convince me to work at Magic or WebTV or Danger, but I knew that the 80-hour-a-week, all-consuming startup life just wasn't for me.

Andy's a good guy who has always loved making cool technology that people want and like to use. The Google phone platform is exactly his kind of thing. I wish him the best of luck with it!

And that's today's Brush with Fame.
Tags: andy rubin, cool, google, technology

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