David Foster, Who Was Poached From Amazon, Leaves Google

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David Foster, who was recruited from Amazon just last year, is now leaving Google, according to Bloomberg. In October, Google’s hardware division hired Foster as vice president of product engineering to spearhead the development of its new range of smartphones, the Pixel, and its other hardware efforts.

David Foster’s exit a big loss for Google

Foster does have an impressive resume. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was a senior director at Apple from 1998 to 2004 before spending a year at the guitar company Gibson as its chief technology officer. Later, Foster was hired by Microsoft as a general manager for hardware. He left Microsoft for Amazon in early 2011. At the e-commerce company, Foster led the development of the Echo voice-activated speaker, Kindle tablets and other devices as VP of hardware engineering.

Google hired Foster last year when it unfolded the first wave of Pixel devices. David Foster worked on the Pixel smartphone and the Home speaker. A Google spokesman declined to comment on the matter, but she did confirm the departure of the top hardware executive to Bloomberg. A person familiar with the company’s plans told Bloomberg that the search giant is not planning to replace Foster.

As of now, there has been no comment from David Foster on the departure. His sudden exit is bad news for the Internet company, which has many hardware ambitions. Google’s hardware division competes with the likes of Amazon (Google Home vs. Amazon Echo), Apple (Pixel XL vs. iPhone 7 Plus) and several other companies that are making devices tied to artificial intelligence, like virtual assistants.

Three Pixel phones in the works

Foster’s exit comes at a time when Google is said to be planning to release three Pixel phones to take on the iPhone. According to Bloomberg, which cites a source familiar with Google’s plans, the search giant is planning to launch at least two new Pixel smartphone models this fall.

It must be noted that Bloomberg talks of at least two new handsets, as there are good chances that the company is planning to release three new smartphones. German publication WinFuture reported earlier this week that it found some data in the Android code which suggests three devices in the pipeline.

According to the data found in the Android code, the three phones may run on Qualcomm’s latest processor. The chip will be Qualcomm’s greatest chip, the MSM8998. The chip supports next-gen Gigabit LTE wireless networks, which will start rolling out in 2017. So far, this processor has only been used in the Samsung Galaxy S8.

WinFuture writer Roland Quandt also published an image showing the three new Google smartphones which could succeed the popular Pixel and Pixel XL. The three devices are reportedly code-named Walleye, Taimen, and Muskie, all named after different fish like Google does with its other devices. Muskie and Walleye are the known code-names for the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2, respectively, whereas Taimen is said to be the code-name for a third new smartphone which may also be launched this year.

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