Android VP Hugo Barra leaves Google for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi

Hugo Barra
Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

Google’s top Android executive Hugo Barra is leaving the company. His next destination is Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. Both Hugo himself and Xiaomi president Lin Bin have confirmed that he is indeed joining the Xiaomi Global in the capacity of Vice President.

Google also announced Barra’s departure in a statement issued earlier today. “We wish Hugo Barra the best. We’ll miss him at Google and we’re excited that he is staying within the Android ecosystem,” Google said in the statement.

There is no word on who will be taking over Barra’s responsibilities at Google.

Hugo Barra’s hiring is a big win for Xiaomi, which is currently growing at a great pace and would surely like to move beyond China and neighbouring countries at some point. According to Xiaomi president Lin Bin, Barra will be responsible for international business development and strategic cooperation with Google’s Android team, when he joins the company in October.

Hugo also took to Google+ to confirm this next chapter in his career, here is an excerpt from his post:

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.

Barra, who joined Google in 2008 from Nuance (the creator of Swype), had emerged as one of the prominent public faces of Android. His exit along with the departure of Andy Rubin earlier this year is surely likely to impact the Android division, particularly as it comes at a time when Android team is busy working on Android 5.0 aka Key Lime Pie. Android 5.0 is reportedly going to be major Android release with Google aiming to take Android beyond smartphones and tablets.

Sundar Pichai, who is currently heading Android, is going to have a tough task ahead in the coming months.

Sources: AllThingsD, TechinAsia

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