Hugo Barra, one of Google’s top Android executives, is leaving the company. Barra, whose official title is vice president of product management for Android, took a job at Xiaomi, a fast-growing Chinese phone maker which makes Android devices for the local market. Or at least that was the case thus far though things could easily change with Barra on board. In a post to Google+, Barra said he’s joining Xiaomi as Vice President of Xiaomi Global to “help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally.”
Xiaomi hopes to sell some 20 million smartphones this year, and the company’s next flagship device should be launched on September 5th. It is said that the upcoming Xiaomi Mi3 will rock either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 or NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 chip, making it one of the most powerful smartphones on the market.
A Google representative could not immediately say how Barra’s responsibilities will be handled, though the company did issue a statement: “We wish Hugo Barra the best. We’ll miss him at Google and we’re excited that he is staying within the Android ecosystem.”
We’ll see whether this guy can help another Chinese vendor get a piece of the Western smartphone market…