When I am asked what phone to purchase I say — a Xiaomi. But, as it turned out very few people know about this brand, their phones and about the company in general. That is why we will tell our readers today about Xiaomi and its products.
Xiaomi is a young Chinese company which was founded by Lei Jun in 2010. It is third in the smartphone manufacturers ranking (first is Samsung and the second is Apple). In late 2014 Xiaomi pushed Uber (the taxi service) from the first place and became the most expensive startup in the world.
Company’s mascot is a rabbit in a hat with a red star and a red scarf around his neck.
Why Xiaomi’s smartphones and other gadgets quickly became so popular? The success secret is simple: their smartphones look like the iPhone and Samsung and are often even more powerful, but the price is significantly lower than that of the competition and this is despite the fact that Xiaomi uses the same suppliers as the competitors.
The company assembles its devices at Foxconn factory. Other products manufactured there: Sony PlayStation 3 and 4, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, hardware for Cisco, and iPhone, iPad and MacBook for Apple.
We will not talk about all Xiaomi smartphones but will tell about their new flagship which was presented today — the Xiaomi Mi5.
Its’ main characteristics:
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, (1.8 / 2.15 / 2.15 GHz), 4 cores
- 3D accelerator: Adreno 530
- OS: Android 6.0 (MIUI v7)
- RAM: 3 / 3 / 4 GB
- Internal memory: 32 / 64 / 128 GB
- Screen: 5.15 inches, IPS, FullHD
- Number of SIM-cards: 2
- Wireless: WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth, NFC
- Camera: main 16 megapixel and front-facing 4 megapixel, LED flash
- Ports: USB Type-C, headphone port
- Sound: Hi-Fi audio
- Sensors: fingerprint reader, accelerometer, compass, light sensor
- Battery capacity: 3030 mAh
The smartphone will be available on March, 1 for 1999 yuan (about $ 360) for the 3 GB RAM and 32 GB of internal memory version. The 64 GB version will cost 2299 yuan (about $ 360) and the most advanced version with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal memory has got a price tag of 2699 yuan (about $ 420).
The company uses the MIUI firmware on their phones which is based on the Android operating system. The development of the firmware is done by Xiaomi. The firmware has a heavily modified user interface and has no application menu. The company decided to combine the best of Android and iOS.
The firmware can also be installed on other phone models (full list). Thanks to its individual firmware, a good balance between price and quality, the company is gaining huge popularity and produces now not only smartphones but other devices.
Their first attempt to release headphones has been a success. The Xiaomi Pistons model was so good that the Chinese market was soon full of its fakes, which is, according to many, considered a sign of quality.
Later, the company has decided to launch a full-size model Xiaomi Mi Headphones. The product features not only the quality of sound but also a good design and the price was again low for a product of this quality — just $ 90.
Xiaomi did not stop on two models and released the Xiaomi Hybrid, which will appeal to the bass fans. The headphones have an interesting feature: the wire from the headphones is protected by Kevlar what greatly prolongs their lives. If you are not a great music fan and you need cheap and reliable headphones then Xiaomi is the best option. If you have a good ear for music then it is better to look for headphones which are more expensive than $ 20.
According to Canalys analysts Xiaomi and Apple have released about the same number of wearable devices last year. In the market of wearable electronics they are tied for the second place and Fitbit is first.
Xiaomi is placed second thanks to its fitness bracelet Mi Band. It has a pedometer, sleep tracker, smart alarm, calorie counter and it can also receive notifications of incoming calls. It works without charge for 30–50 day and the price is $ 15. The full review on this bracelet can be read on habrahabr as well as a story about how the Mi Band was used to analyze cat sleep.
The company has decided to introduce a new model Mi Band 1S. A distinctive feature of the new product is the heart rate sensor or simply — a heart rate monitor. The rest of the specifications remained the same and also the price, what is particularly pleasing.
Another fitness model — Amazefit will come out soon. Its characteristics will be equal to Mi Band only the design of the bracelet will change — Amazefit can be worn as a pendant. Another new feature is the addition of the wireless charging but the battery will only last for ten days, far less than that of Mi Band.
In this year Mi Band will get a couple of new features and it will be possible to use it to control a drone! It became known last week that Xiaomi is working on their quadrocopter which will be controlled by the Mi Band bracelet.
Xiaomi Mi Drone is interesting as it will support the “follow me” feature. There is a large range of quadrocopters for any user on the market now, but no one from the manufacturers has presented a model that would fly after the user and make videos of important events without using any additional bulky devices.
The DJI Phantom drone line offers a similar feature but the user must carry a special controller which is connected to the smartphone.
In addition to the “follow me” feature, Mi Band can be used to control the drone directly using gestures. For example, by a movement of the hand the drone can be ordered to change the position, angle, turn 360° and so on. As always, the main advantage of the new quadrocopter is the price which will not exceed $ 110.
In October 2015, all of a sudden, Xiaomi unveiled not a new smartphone but a segway Ninebot mini. The main investor in Ninebot is Xiaomi and in spring 2015 Ninebot bought the manufacturer of two-wheeled electric scooters Segway, whose name became a household brand for such transportation products.
A distinctive feature of Ninebot mini is its small size and weight — only 12.8 kilograms. It can reach speeds of 16 km/h and is able to climb up the hill at an angle of 15 degrees. In normal operation the charge will last for 22 kilometers. A smartphone app can be used to control the segway and its speed. Also one can find out traffic information, carry out technical diagnostics of the segway and also update its firmware.
The Ninebot mini will cost only $ 315 in China while the majority of Chinese analogues are significantly more expensive.
In the same presentation where the segway was revealed, Xiaomi showed a 60-inch TV Mi TV 3 with the 4K resolution which consists of two parts — the display and the speaker box (Mi TV Bar). Only one cable is connected to the TV while other ports (HDMI, USB, VGA input, Ethernet etc.) are on the Mi TV Bar. The TV has the MIUI TV software based on Android. The price in China on the 60-inch 4K panel is only $ 785!
There is also a 70-inch version of the Mi TV 3 which costs $ 1540.
As can be seen Xiaomi products are very diverse but that is not all! In addition to the devices which we have already described, Xiaomi also sells: tablets, bluetooth gamepads, suitcases, wireless speakers, external batteries, lamps, water purifiers, air conditioners, ventilators, routers, cameras, set-top boxes, robots, shoes. In the second half of the 2016 the company plans to start selling laptops. The virtual reality device is also expected to be released this year. But the most anticipated product of the 2016 is Xiaomi’s processor of their own production.
At the moment there are only three phone companies which produce their own branded chips: Samsung, Apple and Huawei. Also Xiaomi is making plans to produce cars and is going to make movies.
Companies like Xiaomi are a breath of fresh air on the smartphone market as they are a great competitor to the world known brands. Therefore, we wish the company success and growth and most of all — not to lose its own charm and charisma, as there are a lot of Chinese smartphones on the market and the most distinguished of them are Xiaomi.