Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra, who joined the Chinese company from Google, did an interview with Bloomberg where he once again spoke out in defense against copycat accusations that have been levied against the company.
Speaking to Bloomberg on Thursday Barra said all of the copycat claims come from a single iPhone 5-style chamfered edge on a Xiaomi device. “So this whole copycat melodrama all boils down to one chamfered edge on one particular phone model which was Mi 4, which people said looked like the iPhone 5,” Barra said in reference to Jony Ive’s comments that Xiaomi had stolen his and Apple’s design. “And I’ve been the first one to admit it: Yes it does look like the iPhone 5, and that chamfered edge by the way is present in so many other devices.”
Barra said he feels that the criticism Xiaomi has received has largely because of a projected bias against Chinese companies. “People just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high quality products, and by the way sell them at half the price of a high-end Apple or Samsung device.”
Open Android was Google's best decision
He also had lots of good things to say about Android, Google's mobile business he once led before abruptly deciding to leave in 2013. He said making Android open was one of the best decisions they could have ever made.
"Think about what would've happened if Android wasn't open... It means that people would not necessarily make a choice of which browser to use, which search engine to use," Barra continued. "When you have a closed operating system that mandates, you know, certain behaviors and people, it's unfair, right? It would be unfair for Google and - and - basically anybody else."
Barra also said that it doesn’t make sense for phone manufacturers to build their own OS. "We wouldn't build our own operating system...simple because it doesn't make sense to do that. We'd much rather use that engineering horsepower building interesting services and capabilities on top of Android that add value - versus - versus starting again," he said.
He also reiterated previous stances that the company would eventually be making its smartphones available in the United States. That won’t happen for a year at least, he says, and it’s going to require “a lot of work.”