In 2013, Hugo Barra had left Google. This was shortly after Andy Rubin had to step down from being head of Android and move over to another project. Which put Sundar Pichai in charge of both Android and Chrome. A lot of us were worried what would happen with Android, but so far it looks like we’ve overreacted. Recently, former Googler Hugo Barra sat down with CNET for an interview, where they discussed all kinds of interesting things. The main topic being how Xiaomi can expand to the rest of the world, which is what we all thought was going to happen when Barra became an exec at the Chinese company.
“We’re just starting to think about building truly, truly global products. I think Xiaomi’s already good at that because of the mentality of some of the senior engineers. A lot of them have worked at Google or in Silicon Valley, and we have a bunch of ex-Facebook engineers. We have people with the global mentality,” Stated Barra in an interview. “In a year or two, we’re going to shift even harder towards building inherently global products. Whenever we think about a new feature, we try to think about it from a Chinese perspective and a global perspective.”
Numbers don’t lie, and in 2012 Xiaomi sold 7.2 million smartphones, and the next year they more than doubled that to 18.7 million. Additionally Xiaomi had to double their office space in lockstep, which is their new building and look kinda like Google. But no, Barra had nothing to do with that.
It’s interesting that Xiaomi has a bunch of engineers from Google, Facebook and even Microsoft. Which means that Hugo Barra wasn’t the first Googler that the 4-year old Chinese manufacturer managed to grab. Personally, I’m excited to see a Xiaomi phone make it outside of China. Their devices always sell out so quickly, about as fast as they can make them, and they have top-of-the-line specs with pretty low prices. Which is something we can appreciate here.