Must Read: Hugo Barra talks about Google, Android, Xiaomi, and his plans for the future

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 13 Sep 2013

Whatever it is you’re doing, stop it and go read this AllThingsD interview between Kara Swisher and Hugo Barra. Who is Hugo Barra? He was the guy who introduced the world to the first Nexus 7, the second Nexus 7, and he’s been the star of many product demos during various Google events from years past. Recently, he decided to leave Google and join a Chinese company called Xiaomi that last year built seven million phones, and this year aims to nearly triple that.

So, spoiler alert, why did he do it? This quote should tell you everything you really need to know: “If I do my job right, in a few years, the world will be talking about Xiaomi in the same way that they talk about Google and Apple today.”

What exactly will Hugo do at Xiaomi? Right now Xiaomi sells their phones in only one country: China. Yes, they’ve recently expanded into Taiwan, and I know Taiwan doesn’t like to consider themselves a part of China, but … we’re just fighting a semantic battle here. Hugo’s mission will be to get Xiaomi out of China and into other territories like Europe and the United States.

Can he succeed? I certainly hope so, because as much I like my Samsung phone, and what Apple is doing with iOS and the iPhone/iPad, I want to see a healthy third player emerge. Lenovo has the best chance, in my opinion, of becoming a globally respected brand, but right now they’re focusing on emerging markets. Sony? Maybe. LG? They need to learn how to make software.

And then there’s HTC. Poor HTC. Not going to go there.