Report: Android product head Hugo Barra to leave Google

Updated 6:45PST to include a response from Google.

It might be time to add Android's Hugo Barra to the growing list of departures from Google. AllThingsD reports that Barra, who currently serves at the vice president of product management for Android, is leaving to take on a new role at one of China's high-profile handset manufacturers, Xiaomi.

Barra is the third executive to leave from the Android team, following Android co-founder Andy Rubin's sudden departure and Android engineer Jean-Baptise Queru. It's unclear what Barra's next role will be at Xiaomi, but it's likely he'll have a major hand in product development. Xiaomi produces high-end Android phones for the Chinese market.

The news comes from "sources in a position to know" and AllThingsD writes that Barra only recently sent in his resignation. It'll be a difficult exit for Google, as Barra heads up all of Google's Android product development.

A representative from Google responded to AllThingsD with the following quote:

“We wish Hugo Barra the best. We’ll miss him at Google and we’re excited that he is staying within the Android ecosystem.”

Android is quickly becoming a ship without a captain. Now that all of the division's most prominent faces have departed, the future of Android is in flux. It remains to be seen how long Senior VP Sundar Pichai can continue to man both the Android and Chrome OS teams before he is forced to abandon one for the other or merge the two platforms.

With Google steadily unifying its services across operating systems, a merger between Chrome OS and Android now, more than ever, seems unavoidable. And with Samsung eating up a majority of smartphone profits, while simultaneously trying to cut Google out of the picture as much as possible, it wouldn't be crazy to think that Android could be folded into Chrome.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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