Mobile

Android VP Hugo Barra leaving for hot Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi (updated)

Above: Hugo Barra

Image Credit: stshank/Flickr

Updated 8:46 pm PT with confirmation from Barra.

Google’s vice president of Android product management Hugo Barra has quit and is taking a job at Chinese phone company Xiaomi, according to AllThingsD.

The news comes only six months after the Google’s former Android lead Andy Rubin decided to leave the division to start new things at the company.

Barra confirmed the departure in a Google+ post saying, “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.”

He further confirmed that he will be taking a position with Xiaomi, an Android manufacturer which controls about five percent of the smartphone market in China and was recently valued at $10 billion.

Losing two big names in the Android department may mean a shift for the company’s mobile focus, but in an almost weird story twist, it seems Barra’s departure may not be related to Android at all. AllThingsD is reporting that Barra is actually leaving because of a romantic situation gone sour within the Google walls.

He reportedly was dating a fellow Googler who now is dating Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Brin and his wife recently confirmed that they are living apart.

We have not been able to independently confirm this reasoning. Barra did not mention any relationship troubles in his blog post.

The move to Xiaomi, if true, gives a big advantage to the growing Chinese smartphone company. The company was founded in 2010, sold its first smartphone the next year, and has continued to do well in the market, selling 7.19 million phones last year.


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