Facebook has hired Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra to lead its virtual reality business, following the vice president's announcement earlier this week that he would be leaving the Chinese smartphone maker.

On Monday, the former Android executive at Google said he would be returning to Silicon Valley next month to reunite with friends and family, and to take some time off before "embarking on a new adventure".

hugo-barra
His appointment at Facebook was announced on Wednesday by company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said Barra would lead all of Facebook's virtual reality efforts including the Oculus team.

"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. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I'm looking forward to having him on our team."

Sometimes referred to as "the Apple of China", Xiaomi announced a VR headset last year under Barra's watch. The device was certified to work with Google Cardboard apps and some of its mobile phones. In reply to Zuckerberg's welcome, Barra said he aimed to make VR a mainstream technology.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun always says that the highest calling of an engineer is to make technology breakthroughs quickly and readily available to the widest possible spectrum of humanity. That will be my mission at Facebook and I look forward to building the future of immersive technology with Mark Zuckerberg, Brendan Trexler Iribe, Mike Schroepfer, and the visionaries in the Oculus team.

Facebook has made VR and augmented reality two focal points of its long-term innovation roadmap, with artificial intelligence and connectivity being the additional lynchpins for future research.

While Apple's interest in related technology has leaned more towards an AR experience – most recently suggesting a feature that would be integrated into the iOS camera app – the company has been rumored to be developing a full-on VR headset as well.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
55 months ago
Is that Moriarty from the BBC Sherlock series?
For a moment I was confused, he looks like Nick from the series "New girl".
This guy was great in Star Wars.
What if, while creating The Matrix, the machines couldn't figure out how he looked, so they made him look like everybody.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xflashx Avatar
55 months ago
For a moment I was confused, he looks like Nick from the series "New girl".
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnipgnop Avatar
55 months ago
Zuckerberg: I've got a problem Hugo. I don't really know what to do with this VR thing.
Barra: Nobody does.
Zuckerberg: What did you do with it at Xiaomi ?
Barra: Announced it so that we wouldn't look like we weren't doing it.
Zuckerberg: Is that it?
Barra: Pretty much.
Zuckerberg: Okay...how would you like to make big bucks as head of VR at Facebook?
Barra: Sure.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vertical smile Avatar
55 months ago
Xiaomi announced a VR headset last year under Barra's watch.
Barra said he aimed to make VR a mainstream technology.
I might end up being totally wrong about this, but I think that VR is going to end up being like 3DTVs, a niche product. I don't see the masses wanting to wear a VR headset, just like the masses not wanting to wear 3D glasses.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
8692574 Avatar
55 months ago
He is a great addition to ANY company!

Good luck in your new challenge Mr. Hugo!!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
triton100 Avatar
55 months ago
I might end up being totally wrong about this, but I think that VR is going to end up being like 3DTVs, a niche product. I don't see the masses wanting to wear a VR headset, just like the masses not wanting to wear 3D glasses.
People generally don't like putting things on their head. In it's present form with goggles it will always be niche.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
14

Apple Says iOS 14.5 Will Be Released 'Next Week'

Tuesday April 20, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Apple today in a press release about its new AirTag item tracker announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available starting "next week." iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are packed with new features, including the ability for iPhone users who are wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will also be the minimum software versions...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
Ports 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1 copy

Stolen MacBook Pro Schematics Confirm Apple's Plans to Add More Ports and Remove Touch Bar

Wednesday April 21, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple's plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe. MacRumors saw the schematics after they were leaked online, and some of them feature the logic board of the next-generation MacBook Pro. On the right side of the machine,...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
maxresdefault

Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes

Tuesday April 20, 2021 4:23 pm PDT by
Apple today held its first event of 2021, and it was one of the most exciting events that we've seen in some time. Apple announced a whole slew of new products, including an M1 iMac, an M1 iPad Pro, a refreshed 4K Apple TV, and the long-awaited AirTags. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce all of the new devices during its virtual...