Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to get one billion people using virtual reality, a lofty goal considering there were just one million VR headsets shipped across the entire industry in last year’s third quarter. Meet the man Zuckerberg put in charge of executing that mission: Hugo Barra, a longtime Googler and former Xiaomi executive who took over as Facebook’s VP of VR early last year.
Barra worked on early versions of Android and was responsible for helping Xiaomi, the Chinese gadget firm, expand its business overseas. Now he’s the de-facto CEO of Oculus, the virtual reality company that Facebook bought for more than $2 billion back in 2014.
Barra was at CES in Las Vegas this week to unveil a product that might help expedite Facebook’s mission: A new standalone VR headset exclusively for the Chinese market. Facebook is partnering with Xiaomi, Barra’s old employer, on both the technical and distribution side of the new product.
While the arrangement was finalized after Barra joined Facebook, he claims his presence at the social giant didn’t have much of an impact. “I don’t particularly think so, no,” he said when asked during an interview this week.
“Xiaomi and Oculus have had a relationship for a while.” What Barra won’t downplay, though, is the importance of so-called “standalone” VR in accomplishing Facebook’s mission. A standalone headset — meaning no cumbersome cables or wires, and no smartphone necessary — is, in Barra’s mind, the key to pushing VR into the mainstream. Read more from recode.net…
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