News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday August 29, 2013.
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Hugo Barra, the VP of Android at Google and a frequent speaker when Google unveils new products, has decided to leave the company to work for a comparatively small Chinese smartphone maker with eyes on global expansion. AllThingsD first reported that Barra would leave the company last night, which prompted Barra to confirm his departure on his Google+ profile. He writes:
"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."
Hiring Barra is a huge coup for Xiaomi, pronounced sheow-mee, a Chinese upstart formed three years ago. The company quickly gained market share in China and sold millions of phones slightly more than it costs to manufacturer in order to make money on software. The company is best known outside of China for developing the MIUI Android ROM that incorporates Apple-like UI conventions and plenty of modifications that set it apart from other Android user experiences.
Xiaomi has little recognition outside of China but it wants to aggressively push into more markets in the west and have growth as rapid internationally as it has domestically. Xiaomi hiring someone with extensive knowledge of Android who played a part in the development of successful Nexus products and software advancements could go a long way in helping achieve those goals.source: Google+ (Hugo Barra)
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.