Hugo Barra has been making all the headlines in relation to his sensational move to Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. In an interview with AllThingsD, he revealed that he was in talks with the Chinese firm foe over a year. Notably, he said that he would rapidly move towards spreading the Xiaomi brand across developing markets and said that places like India, Russia, Indonesia, Latin America, and Thailand would hit the sweet spot for the company.
He refused to get into the uncomfortable details about Google Co-founder dating his ex-girlfriend, but stated that he had a very good working relationship with Xiaomi founder Bin Lin, who previously ran engineering for Google’s mobile unit in China. He revealed that even Android design chief Matias Duarte recognised that Xiaomi was doing great work with their fork of Android called MIUI, and he noted that to be a ‘distinctively important moment’.
In the interview he recognized that the phone business was a low-margin game, but revealed that the eventual idea was to sell the device at cost and make money off the software and services bundled with them. This is not too dissimilar from what Google has achieved with its Nexus program and what Amazon is doing with its Kindle branded tablets.