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Last year was when we first saw Google start to get serious with its smartphone hardware division. Sure, the company has been releasing Nexus devices for several years, but the technology giant mostly viewed these devices as developer reference models and not as true consumer flagship smartphones.

That changed with the Google Pixel brand becoming their flagship smartphone. The Pixel and Pixel XL are still regarded as some of the best smartphones from 2016 and the company hopes that will continue this year with their successors

David Foster who was poached from well known technology company Amazon, VP of hardware product development at Google, has left the company six months after Google recruited him from Amazon.

Foster was charged with leading development of Google’s Pixel smartphone and Home speaker. He joined Google in the days surrounding the launch of the Pixel and Pixel XL in October 2016.

Amidst a bigger hardware push from Google, Foster reported to Rick Osterloh, the former Motorola executive Google hired last year. At Amazon, Foster led development of the Echo smart speaker and Kindle tablets, and before that, worked at Apple and IBM for a short stint. He was a marquee hire for Alphabet Inc.’s Google, made just as the internet search giant unfurled the first wave of its own branded devices.

A Google spokesperson confirmed Foster’s departure, but declined to offer specifics. Google currently doesn’t plan to replace Foster, according to Bloomberg.

It was reported that Google still plans to release at least two new Pixel models this fall. Osterloh is said to have previously hinted the Pixel lineup will be refreshed annually and stay premium.

Google plans to release a second-generation Pixel smartphone as follow-up to the first version released in October 2016, Google hardware boss Rick Osterloh confirmed at Mobile World Conference this week.

Google’s push into becoming a hardware company by creating its own smartphone is off to a fantastic start.

“There is an annual rhythm in the industry. So, you can count on us to follow it.” Osterloh reportedly told Android Pit at a closed meeting with reporters. “You can count on a successor this year, even if you don’t hear a date from me now.”

It’s also rumored Google could launch a third Pixel and new Google Home speaker this year.

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