Updated: May 14, 2020 10:05:54 am
Two top-level members of Google’s core smartphone team, Marc Levoy and Mario Queiroz have left the company. Both Levoy and Queiroz were key members of Google’s smartphone hardware team. A recent shakeup within the Pixel’s internal team could be related to the failure of Pixel 4, Google’s answer to the iPhone 11.
Marc Levoy, the mastermind behind the Pixel camera, left Google. It was Levoy who introduced “computational photography” in smartphones. Levoy helped the Pixel smartphone cameras to be ahead of the competition, thanks to HDR+, Portrait Mode, and Night Sight. Levoy’s Linkedin page confirms he left the company in March.
Before joining Google, Levoy was a professor at Stanford University, where he worked on a project that would eventually become Google Street View. He joined Google in 2014 and gradually moved up the ladder to become one of the core members of the Pixel team.
Queiroz, on the other hand, was number two, in Google’s smartphone hardware team. He left HP to join Google in 2005. In late last year, Queiroz left the Pixel team and departed the company two months later to join Palo Alto Networks, which is led by the former president of Softbank Group, Nikesh Arora.
The departures of Levoy and Queiroz show Google’s struggles in the smartphone hardware. The original Pixel smartphone was critically acclaimed but since then Google hasn’t managed to come up with an exiting smartphone. Its recent flagship smartphone, Pixel 4, was a bigger failure. According to The Information, Google reportedly shipped only 2 million Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL units by the end of March.
Even before Levoy and Queiroz left Google, there was some rift going on within the Pixel’s core hardware team. At a meeting held prior to the Pixel 4’s launch last fall, Rick Osterloh, the man in charge of Google’s hardware division, expressed concerns about the development of Pixel 4. The much-hyped Pixel 4 never saw a release in India
The company lost two senior executives at a time when Google plans to launch the Pixel 4a in the coming days. The Pixel 4a was rumoured for a late May launch, though the release date has been reportedly delayed. The Pixel 4a, which succeeds the Pixel 3a, will take on the likes of Apple’s iPhone SE 2020 and Samsung’s Galaxy A51. The smartphone is said to start at $399.
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