Facebook Hires Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra to Lead its Virtual Reality Division

by

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

(View all)
Avatar
49 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)
Avatar
49 months ago
For a moment I was confused, he looks like Nick from the series "New girl".
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 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)
Avatar
49 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)
Avatar
49 months ago
He is a great addition to ANY company!

Good luck in your new challenge Mr. Hugo!!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 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

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Some Apple Watch SE Owners Experiencing Issues With Overheating [Updated]

Monday October 19, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
There may be an issue with the new Apple Watch SE, which some users have found is overheating after a few hours of usage. Several Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea have run into problems, as noted in a Reddit post chronicling the complaints. There have been six reports from Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea who have had their Apple Watches get hot and malfunction, with a yellow spot...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...