Hugo Barra’s boss has no problem with saying the iPhone is the best smartphone available

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 5 Dec 2013


Hugo Barra, the guy who used to get up on stage every few months and talk about all the new work Google has done with Android, left Google during the summer to join Xiaomi. Xiaomi, in case you haven’t heard of them, is a Chinese handset maker that prides itself on making highly affordable devices, selling them online, and creating an Android skin called MIUI. Hugo’s boss, Lei Jun, the CEO of Xiaomi, recently gave an interview where he called the iPhone the best phone on the planet.

Wait, what?

Why would Jun call the iPhone the best phone you can buy? Easy, he told the press that his company is only three years old, and that one day he hopes for it to be as well liked as Apple. Unlike Samsung or HTC, who openly ding Apple and say their alternative experience is better, Jun is taking the opposite approach by saying Apple is the best and that both Xiaomi and Apple have the same goals. It sounds counterintuitive, but this stuff is straight propaganda.

Will Xiaomi become as big as Apple? In terms of revenues, no, that’s damn near impossible. But in terms of the actual number of smartphones sold, it’s far too soon to tell. With Hugo now working for Xiaomi and tasked with getting Xiaomi’s devices into international markets, the potential is there for Xiaomi to become “the next big thing”.