“I’ve been at Google for six years but it feels more like ‘Two years at Google and four years in a small start-up called Android that plans to revolutionize the mobile industry,” Beust said on his blog. “I don’t know what’s the most surprising: how ambitious that goal was four years ago or how far Android has come today.”
He goes on to say that leaving the search giant is the “hardest decision” he’s ever had to make but he’s anxious to tackle new challenges. It’s unclear what his new role at the business-oriented social network will be but I’m sure it will involve boosting LinkedIn’s mobile presence.
This defection comes after the somewhat-shocking departure of senior product manager Erick Tseng Wednesday. Tseng was widely considered a strong guiding force in the shaping and development of Android but he’s now looking to tackle the intersection of mobile and social at Facebook.
If these moves are hurting Android, the damage certainly hasn’t popped up yet. The Linux-based OS finally outsold Apple’s iPhone in the first quarter in the United States and we’re in the midst of some high-end Android handsets. The Droid Incredible, EVO 4G and Samsung Galaxy S are all stellar devices that one could legitimately crown as the best smartphone on the market.
I think these defections could hurt Android in the short term, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about a “brain drain” because Google has the resources to hire more-than-capable replacements. Beust goes out of his way to praise Google’s mobile platform and even has kind words for the 2.2 version.
“Froyo is no exception, prepare to be blown away by what you will see very soon,” Beust wrote.
We’ll be at Google’s I/O conference next week and we should be getting a taste of that Froyo goodness, so keep it tuned here for the latest Android news.