Google’s Hugo Barra is leaving for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi (creators of MIUI)



The world is feeling a little upside down tonight. According to a report from All Things D, Google’s Hugo Barra will resign from his position as vice president of product management for Android, and in a stranger twist, will be start work for Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi (makers of the MIUI phone).

The fun doesn’t stop there. ATD also mentions a love triangle behind the scenes that, while unrelated to the move, involved Barra and a fetching young Google employee who is now seeing Sergey Brin (who recently split from his wife of 6 years). It was back in March that we saw Android founder Andy Rubin resign from his position at Google, although he reportedly has remained with the company.

While at first this sounds like more bad news for Google, we’re sure they’ll find a worthy replacement. Also, we’re wondering what this move might suggest for Xiaomi and their MIUI phones, which have reportedly been dominating China. Could this be a sign of MIUI devices launching internationally? Suddenly, Android just got a little more interesting.

UPDATE: The information has been confirmed, in a Google+ post titled “A New Android Chapter,” Hugo said:

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.

+Android team, I will truly miss you all!

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. first JBQ and now Hugo? why’s everyobdy leaving? the party’s just getting started haha

    1. Perhaps boredom. Engineers aren’t exactly known for working at one place for their entire lives!

  2. Where’s our mobile tech version of TMZ when we need them?

    1. Well, we just found out the woman behind the love triangle was Amanda Rosenberg. You might know her as the beautiful girl that came up with the “Ok Glass” phrase for Google Glass. I’ll just leave it at that.

      1. You should have just left it. These aren’t politicians running for office.

        1. Fun gossip anyway.

          1. It’s not fun when you see all kinds of snarky comments on their google+ pages…

          2. What’s google+? But really, that’s the price you pay for working in such a high profile company and position within that company.

          3. A high profile company whose computers probably “know” more about us than any person.

            A company that thrives on getting every bit of info on us, pictures of our cars, houses, neighbourhoods and way too much info on our wireless access points.

            Yeah, I’m not going to lose any sleep because some rich Googlers have a bit of their personal life out in the open…

          4. Good show old chap!

  3. Crap, just when I was getting used to his “wacky” reveal antics when he’s announcing a new product!! Oh well, over it…who’s next…

  4. First Rubin, then JBQ, now Barra.

    3 top Android executives.

    Half Life 3 confirmed.

    But seriously, what’s up with the Android team. I hope we don’t lose Matias.

    1. Rubin was just doing what he’s always done. He’s been involved in two start ups prior to Android and left shortly after those were acquired too.

      JBQ was pretty obvious about his frustration on Qualcomm being used despite past struggles.

      No idea on Barra other than the possible drama mentioned in the article. Perhaps more freedom with a smaller company.

      I think Matias is a safe bet for now. After all the heart ache with WebOS I think the stability with Google/Android will keep him around.

      1. JBQ…I remember him from the Be inc days. Very idealistic guy…which is good but you have to let some of that go if you want Android to succeed. I’d much rather have qualcomm on our side and deal with their headaches than have Microsoft take over.

        Don’t say it can’t happen. Microsoft has a history of eventually overtaking the market.

  5. A ‘report’ from all things d. Don’t you mean a RUMOR?

    1. They got the indepth scoop, and it was confirmed today by Barra himself.

  6. Ha this doesn’t surprise me. I remember using MIUI back in the Android 2.1-2.3 days. Quite a few of ICS/JB features were in MIUI way before stock Android!

  7. Xiaomi developers are thieves and liars. The MIUI code is stolen from cyanogen mod, but they never gave any credits to the cyanogen mod team. When a group of user from XDA-developers tried to bring this to attention at the MIUI forum (and very politely as well) they were all perma-banned from the forum by the admins. Some MIUI forum users saw this and complained about it. They too were banned.

    Xiaomi also promised that they would always support Google branded phones (i.e. Nexus), but there still isn’t an official MIUI rom for Nexus 4. They also have very poor support for their own phones. The last time I checked, the older generation of Xiaomi phones still haven’t received the newest version of MIUI yet.

    1. (‘o’)/ *GASP*

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