Facebook hires Hugo Barra to lead virtual reality efforts

January 26, 2017 // 10:40 a.m.

Tags: #android #facebook #google #hugo-barra #mark-zuckerberg #mobile-vr #oculus-vr #smartphone #virtual-reality #vr #xiaomi

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has suggested that his company's VR arm could be focusing more tightly on mobile experiences, picking up former Android head Hugo Barra from Xiaomi to sit in total charge of all virtual reality projects - including wholly owned subsidiary Oculus VR.

Hugo Barra's most famous role came during his work on the Android operating system at Google, where he served as vice president of product management for the platform. In 2013, Barra was poached by Chinese mobile maker Xiaomi to help broaden the appeal of its Android smartphone products outside China. He's been there since, but now has received a better offer: to join Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook as lead on its virtual reality efforts, including expensively acquired subsidiary and lawsuit-magnet Oculus VR.

'I'm excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team,' Zuckerberg stated in an official announcement. 'I've known Hugo for a long time, starting when he helped develop the Android operating system, to the last few years he's worked at Xiaomi in Beijing bringing innovative devices to millions of people. Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They'll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I'm looking forward to having him on our team.'

Given Barra's previous focus on Android and Android-powered mobile devices, coupled with the formation of a dedicated mobile VR division, Zuckerberg's choice of leader would suggest an increasingly heavy focus on mobile VR, though no announcements on this front have yet been made.
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