Google’s on-again off-again love affair with Motorola continues, as the company has hired Motorola’s former President Rick Osterloh to run a new hardware division, in news broken by Re/Code.
That new division includes a suite of products called the “living room,” which demonstrates Google’s focus on owning that space within your home. It’s unclear if these living room products are new, or if they simply represent every Google hardware initiative that’s now under Osterloh’s jurisdiction–Nexus phones, Chromecast video streamers, Chromebook laptops, and OnHub routers–as well as the experimental hardware division ATAP and Google’s failed AR headset Glass.
His jurisdiction over ATAP and Glass represent a significant organizational shift within the company. Since flopping at market, Glass was given to Tony Fadell to reboot. Fadell, meanwhile, was already handling his own Nest smarthome products.
The news follows the departure of ATAP’s head Regina Dugan, who left for Facebook, raising questions about what would happen to her division. ATAP had run as an independent pirate ship. Now, its projects, like the Ara modular phone, will answer to Osterloh, while its VR initiatives spun off to Google’s separate VR division.
Google bought Motorola in 2011, before selling it to Lenovo in 2014. At the time, Motorola’s organized product line seemed like the perfect complement to Google’s hardware products that never seemed to catch on. Osterloh worked at Google, leading Motorola, during the acquisition.