Android VP Hugo Barra leaves Google for Chinese Android maker Xiaomi

The front face of Android during many Google events Hugo Barra is suddenly leaving the company. He will be joining the fast growing Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. Barra joined Google in 2008 and was in charge of Android product development as a vice president. Barra came second after Andy Rubin, who also stepped down from his position recently.

There are indications of a love triangle here, which may answers some of the questions around his sudden departure when Android is doing so good. According to All Things D, Hugo Barra was in a relationship with a Google employee. That employee reportedly broke up with Barra and is now seeing none other than Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Media reports however say that the love triangle is unrelated to Barra’s resignation.

On his Google+ page Barra said:

After nearly 5½ years at Google and almost 3 years as a member of the Android team — the most amazing group of people I’ve ever worked with in my life — I have decided to start a new career chapter.

In a few weeks, I’ll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally — as Vice President, Xiaomi Global.  I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem.

It has been an amazing ride and true honor to be part of the Android team at Google, and I especially want to thank +Andy Rubin , +Hiroshi Lockheimer , +Sundar Pichai and +Vic Gundotra for their phenomenal support and mentorship over the years.

+Android team, I will truly miss you all!

In a statement Google said:

“We wish Hugo Barra the best. We’ll miss him at Google and we’re excited that he is staying within the Android ecosystem.”

What’s Xiaomi?

Xiaomi entered the Chinese smartphone market in 2011 with Android but quickly rose to popularity. It now controls 5% of Chines smartphone market matching Apple which used to own 5% market. Samsung controls 18% whereas Lenovo controls 12% of this market.

Xiaomi is often compared with Apple for its hyped product releases and Apple like presentations. However Xiaomi’s model is a bitt different from that of Samsung or Apple. Xiaomi sells hardware at very thin margin and it’s revenues much depend on software and services that it sells for its mobile platform. Xiaomi was founded in 2011 by a Google employee Lin Bin and a Chinese investor Lei Jun.

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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