One of Google’s top smartphone team members is leaving the company to take a position with upstart Chinese handset maker Xiaomi. Hugo Barra, current vice president of product management for Android, announced the decision on his Google+ page late yesterday evening.
Barra has been with the search giant for close to five and a half years with nearly three years of that time spent working with the Android team. By his own admission, Barra said it’s the most amazing group of people he has ever worked with but it was time to start a new career chapter in his life.
In a few weeks time, Barra said he would be joining the Xiaomi team as global vice president to help them expand their product portfolio and business globally. He isn’t totally abandoning Android, however, as he plans to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem while at Xiaomi.
You may not have heard of Xiaomi as they don’t currently sell many phones outside of China but they are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. The company surpassed Apple in sales during the last quarter and even took the title of top selling smartphone away from Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 during the first half of this year with their Mi 2S.
The company completed a round of funding to the tune of $10 billion just last week according to CEO Lei Jun. The best way to describe Xiaomi, Lei said, is that they look a bit like Apple but are really more like Amazon with some elements of Google.