Xiaomi home market share slips, the smartphone maker reportedly looks to build its own chips

Last year Xiaomi’s market share slid notably in its native China, as the smartphone maker moved from first to fifth place (and tellingly avoided publishing its own sales figures for the first time).

Xiaomi-Mi-Smartphones

2017, meanwhile, has already has seen its own share of issues for the company, with head of international Hugo Barra jumping ship a few days before it announced that it didn’t have anything on tap for Mobile World Congress, the year’s biggest phone show.

It seems the company needs some time to ready its next big step. This week, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Xiaomi is planning to join Samsung, Apple and fellow Chinese manufacturer Huawei in the elite club of smartphone makers building their own processors.

According to the paper’s sources, the company is planning to release its Pinecone chip within a month (which could have been great timing for MWC, as it happens). The chip is said to be the product of Beijing Pinecone Electronics, a company tied to Xiaomi that resulted from a $15 million technology buy from Datang subsidiary Leadcore Technology Ltd.

It’s a pricey move – and a risky one, as much of the competition focuses on undercutting prices. Though it could help distinguish the company from a seemingly ever-growing number of smartphone makers in its home country. It would also make Xiaomi less reliant on Qualcomm, which is currently under heat for patent issues in India, a major market for the smartphone maker, where it launched the Snapdragon-powered Redmi Note 4 earlier in the year.

Xiaomi is also aggressively pushing for growth in additional markets, including Indonesia, where the company opened up a new plant this week, with the goal of manufacturing up to one million phones a year for the local market.


Xiaomi Mi Mix review

Previously a concept phone, Xiaomi has entered its Mi Mix into production. At its November unveiling this revolutionary new Android phone entirely overshadowed the amazing Mi Note 2, with a design quite unlike anything we’ve seen before.

xiaomi-mi-mix-2017

We’ve been reading rumours for months that the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 could come with a bezel-less display, and Xiaomi just beat both to the punch with the Mi Mix. Although the screen is huge at 6.4in, the loss of the top bezel means the phone itself isn’t much larger than most 5.7- to 6in phablets. The Mi Mix has an incredibly high screen-to-body ratio of 91.3 percent.

Strictly speaking it’s not entirely edgeless – there is still a bottom bezel, plus a thin black border around the screen as is common on Xiaomi phones – but the Mix is the first phone we’ve seen where the screen runs right to the edge on top, left and right sides.

This has presented some logistical problems for Xiaomi, now needing to relocate the selfie camera, proximity sensor and earpiece from their usual homes. It’s moved the selfie camera to the bottom right corner below the screen, which admittedly takes some getting used to, but getting around its poor shooting angle is a simple matter of turning the phone on its head.

For the proximity sensor and earpiece Xiaomi has been more intelligent in its workarounds. The Mi Mix uses an ultrasonic distance sensor that sits behind the display rather than a standard proximity sensor, and instead of an earpiece there is ‘cantilever piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology’ to transmit sound. We have no idea what is cantilever piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology, but we can tell you that mid-call the Mi Mix’s audio is just as clear as any other phone we’ve tried.
The gorgeous design extends beyond the edgeless screen with a full ceramic body designed by Philippe Starck. Turn it over and on the rear you’ll find 18K gold trims to the camera and fingerprint scanner surrounds – a fancy finishing touch for a very fancy phone.

Performance is staggering, with what is currently the best flagship smartphone processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 running at 2.35GHz (also see our piece on the forthcoming Snapdragon 835, which should make an appearance in the Galaxy S8). This is paired with a very generous 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM and a massive 256GB of UFS 2.0 storage. There’s no microSD support but, honestly, do you really need it?

Battery life is also amazing, and even with heavy use the 4,400mAh cell inside the Mi Mix showed more than 50 percent capacity remaining when we went to bed at night. This phone would easily last us two days, and for some users potentially even longer. Quick Charge 3.0 support means it’s also very fast to recharge when required.

A second version of the Mi Mix is identical save for smaller helpings of memory and storage, at 4GB and 128GB respectively, and the loss of the 18K gold detailing. Both phones come only in black – for now. At CES 2017 last night Xiaomi announced a new white version of the Mi Mix, but unfortunately it wasn’t unveiled in a Global edition and is exclusive to China – see Mi CES 2017 recap.

The lack of a Global edition of the Mi Mix is a real shame. Up until the release of the Mi Note 2 (for which there are standard and Global editions), all Xiaomi phones lacked support for 4G FDD-LTE Band 20, aka 800MHz or the one band used by O2 and any virtual mobile operators that piggyback its network (GiffGaff and Sky Mobile, for example) for 4G connectivity in the UK.

This rules out customers of those networks being able to receive anything faster than 3G connectivity, but it may at times also present problems for users of other mobile networks – Vodafone and Three both use the 800MHz frequency alongside either 1800MHz or 2600MHz. Only EE uses all three. (For more see How to tell whether a phone is supported by your network.)

The Global Mi Note 2, by comparison, supports 37 bands including full UK 4G support.

However, while we’d like to see 800MHz 4G on the Mi Mix, I can tell you I haven’t experienced any loss of connectivity on the Vodafone network, and have always been able to get online and make calls or texts. It does feel as though I haven’t been connected to 4G as often as I would on my previous phone, although this is difficult to prove without having two Vodafone accounts and carrying both phones with me at all times.

Xiaomi is looking to enter the global market, and in 2017 we should see its phones begin to go on sale in the US. However, for now the UK is not on its list. Xiaomi phones are not officially sold here, which means you need to import them via Chinese grey-market sites such as GearBest, which supplied our Mi Mix for review.

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This presents a number of issues, which means some UK consumers will choose to look elsewhere for their next mobile phone. The brave among you will be rewarded, though, provided nothing goes wrong and your device is delivered in full working order. And this has been the case for us with every Xiaomi phone (and other Chinese phones) we’ve reviewed.

Chief among the risks of buying from China is the fact you are not protected by the same consumer laws as you are when buying from the UK or Europe. That’s not to say you won’t be able to get a refund on a faulty product, but you should know that obtaining one may require you to jump through some hoops. GearBest recommends that people take advantage of the insurance option when buying from its site.
And while delivery to the UK may be free, there will likely be import duty to pay before you can receive the item. This is calculated using whatever pricing information is given on the shipping paperwork (20 percent), plus an admin fee of £11 (via DHL). You should factor this into the total purchase price. Check out our advice on buying grey-market tech.

All these phones, including the Mi Mix, are sold SIM-free, which has both its advantages and disadvantages. You can add whatever SIM you like and won’t be tied down to a 24-month contract where you pay over the odds for the phone but in more manageable monthly payments (also see Best SIM deals). However, it also means you must pay for the phone in full up front. And that could be an issue here.
Chinese phones are well known for undercutting their western rivals, offering similar specifications at a much lower (sometimes half) the price. Don’t get your hopes up just yet, though…

Consider that you would pay £919 for the iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB of storage. That phone comes with just 2GB of RAM, no edgeless display and no gold. The Xiaomi Mi Mix does undercut the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus, but not by as much as you might have hoped. The 6GB RAM, 256GB storage model we’ve reviewed here costs £799.91 ($887.78) from GearBest.

Until 31 May 2017 GearBest is offering 13 percent of the 6GB RAM/256GB storage Mi Mix with 18K gold, though unfortunately it is listed as out of stock at the moment. This takes the price down from, £799.91 to £695.92. Use the code GBMBP at checkout to claim.

With the Mi Mix out of stock at GearBest, here are some other places to try:

Where to buy Mi Mix with 4GB RAM/128GB storage
• £594.49/$724.99 at TomTop
• £613.45/$739.99 at Coolicool
• £658.87/$799.99 at Geekbuying

Where to buy Mi Mix with 6GB RAM/256GB storage
• £655.99/$799.99 at TomTop

Where to buy Mi Mix 6GB RAM/256 storage/18K gold detailing
• £654.90/$789.99 at Coolicool
• £683.58/$829.99 at Geekbuying

Where to buy white Mi Mix
We haven’t found anywhere the Mi Mix is available in white just yet, although GearBest has published an arrival notice for both the entry-level and standard models in white. You can opt to get an email when the phone is available to pre-order, at which point pricing will be available. Click here to pre-register your interest in the white Mi Mix.

Although you’ll need to have deep pockets to purchase the Mi Mix, we must point out that right now there is no other phone like it on the market. If you want to own the type of phone where people look over your shoulder and say “Ooh, what’s that?” or “Wow, that’s cool!” then this is absolutely it.

Xiaomi improves the Redmi Note 4 camera

Xiaomi continues to bet big on India, this time with an Indian version of its budget Redmi Note 4 phone, which the company previously launched last year in its home market of China.

Xiaomi-improves-Redmi-Note-4-camera

While it looks almost identical to the earlier Redmi Note 4, the new version does away with antenna lines and improves the 13-megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor boasting pixels sized at 1.12micron for better low-light shots.

Instead of the MediaTek deca-core Helios X20 processor found on the Chinese version, the Indian model uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 chip. There’s a new matte black color, too.

Otherwise, the specs aren’t all that different. The Note 4 packs a 5.5-inch full-HD display and comes with a fingerprint scanner and 4G dual-SIM. The non-removable 4,100mAh battery also means you’ll be able to last a full day and then some.

Key specs:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
5.5-inch full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel screen
4,100 mAh battery
13-megapixel CMOS BSI sensor
4G dual-SIM
The phone will retail in India for 9,999 Indian rupees for the 2GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage base model. This converts to about $145, £120 and AU$190 respectively. The 4GB RAM model with 64GB of onboard storage is a tad more expensive at 12,999 Indian rupees, but that converts to just $190, £155 and AU$250, which is quite the deal.

The bad news is that Xiaomi hasn’t said if it will retail this outside of its second biggest market. The company is generally sketchy on its international plans, vaguely hinting at long-term US expansion plans back at CES. The Redmi Note 4 goes on sale in India on 23 January on e-commerce site Flipkart and Xiaomi’s own site.

Xiaomi admits it doesn’t make money on smartphone hardware sales

Xiaomi’s business model isn’t about selling handsets, except insofar as those handset sales lead to recurring service revenue later on. So said Xiaomi global VP and former Android VP Hugo Barra in an interview with Reuters. The executive for the device maker was commenting on a drop in its smartphone sales in China, explaining that they wouldn’t impact the company’s long-term profit growth.

xiaomi-admits-make-money-smartphone-hardware-sales

Barra explained that Xiaomi “could sell 10 billion smartphones and [the company] wouldn’t make a single time in profits,” speaking to Reuters, adding that Xiaomi is essentially giving away its smartphones “without making any money,” because ultimately it “care[s] about the recurring revenue streams over many years” rather than immediate margins on hardware.

Xiaomi is also focusing increasingly on other categories, including smart home device sales, and, as suggested by Barra, revenue drive by software and services. Smartphone sales, once its core strength, dropped 12 percent globally last year, and IDC stats suggest its Q3 sales in China for the devices will be down 45 percent.

The company doesn’t need to IPO or even raise funds privately, however, Barra told Reuters, and is looking forward to CES where it’s participating for the first time, and where it’ll unveil a new product.

It sounds like Xiaomi’s approach has more in common with Amazon’s hardware strategy than with Apple’s, even though when it debuted it seemed poised to threaten the latter, especially in markets like China. Dwindling hardware sales also aren’t great for service revenue potential long-term, it’s worth noting, but Barra and Xiaomi are probably hoping other device categories and overall installed base can carry that weight regardless of smartphone device sales performance.

XiaoMI Make a Flexible Display

Flexible displays is still an unoccupied territory. In 2014, Samsung showed off its flexible displays and it was rumored last year that Samsung is preparing a flexible Galaxy device.

mi-flexible-display

In January, a university actually came up with some sort of a flexible phone called ReFlex. Now, it’s the Apple of China, Xiaomi. GizmoChina has reported a video published by Youku) featuring a flexible display which is said to be made by the Mi-maker.

The fact, Xiaomi is making a bendable display, is strengthened by an indication that the device in the video is running the MIUI 8. The rumor has surface prior to the launch of Mi Note 2. But the flagship device from Xiaomi is expected to feature a curved display, not the flexible one.

According to GSMArena, the Mi Note 2 is expected to launch with a price tag of CNY 5699 (USD 846 approx) for the high-end version and CNY 4999 (USD 742 approx).

With various companies coming up with their own version of the flexible display, though, currently a concept, it marks an important point in the timeline of smartphones. In the last decade , there has been a sudden outburst of similar devices from various brands and a change in the leadership in the smartphone market.

xiaomi-flexible-display-video

Nokia and its Symbian OS faded away in the darkness and Android has almost become omnipresent but facing a challenge from iOS. Recently, Nokia has been preparing for a comeback in an Android costume. Also, a major Android adversary Cyanogen has changed its focus. Yet, above all, the smartphone industry has reached its saturation point and people are waiting for an unhackneyed technology.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2016

Xiaomi Launches Edgeless “Mi Mix” — The Most Beautiful Smartphone Of 2016

xiaomi-mi-mix-2016

At its launch event in Beijing, Xiaomi rolled out the Mi Note 2 with a curved display, resembling the screen of deceased Galaxy Note 7. It comes with a 5.7-inch 3D QLED display and impressive 77.2% screen-to-body ratio.

The same event became a witness of another smartphone launch that left the smartphone enthusiasts spellbound. Xiaomi launched its latest premium smartphone Mi Mix. This edgeless smartphone has the looks that can make the biggies like iPhone 7 and Pixel jealous.

The company has managed to create this look by removing the physical earpiece speaker and sensors. Mi Mix features under-the-display piezoelectric ceramic driver for the earpiece and an ultrasonic proximity sensor. The front of Mi Mix sits at the bottom of the device.

Mi Mix specifications

Talking about the technical specifications, the phone is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip clocking at 2.35GHz. It also features 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB internal storage. The display is 6.4-inch 2040×1080 pixel. You also get a powerful 4,400mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support. For shooting pictures, in the front, there’s a 16MP sensor. For selfies, there’s a 5MP camera.

Mi Mix also arrives in a Pro avatar with 6GB RAM and 258GB storage space. Another notable feature of the Pro version is an 18k gold trim around the rear camera and fingerprint sensor.

Mi Mix price and availability

The Mi Mix smartphone will be available for purchase from November 4 in China. The buyers will need to pay $516 for the 4GB/128GB version. The 18K Pro version will cost $590.

Mi Mix looks like a breath of fresh air in the smartphone market. Don’t forget to tell your views in the comments below.

XiaoMI is Working on FleXible Screen Technology

A few days ago we reported on a new patent from LG that appears to show a transparent, foldable display to work on a device similar to a book. That news wasn’t new for LG, as we knew at CES this year that the company expects to be producing flexible screens by 2017.

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Both Samsung and Lenovo have showcased similar technology, but now it looks like Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has the same idea.

A concept from the company has leaked that appears to show a display that bends in all directions, not unlike paper. Two separate renders were leaked on Baidu.

The screen appears to be flexible and can be bent up or down, left or right.

While these bendable and foldable concepts are interesting, it isn’t something you should expect to see anytime soon. It’s one thing to spend tons of money and time to produce an awesome proof of concept, but if there’s no way to bring that technology to mass production in a cost-effective manner, it’ll remain out of the hands of the general public for a while longer.

Increasing Demand for Smartphones in Asia Pacific Region Dominates Consumer Electronics Market

Consumer electronics cover all the electronic devices most often used for entertainment communications and office work. The global consumer electronics market features several players dominating the market for a particular type of electronic device. However, players such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Apple Inc., LG Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Sony Corporation, HP, Nikon Corporation, Canon Inc., Koninklijke Philips N.V., and Dell Inc. have emerged as the dominant consumer electronics manufacturers due to their strong performance in multiple areas of the consumer electronics market.

Consumer Electronics Market Description: http://tinyurl.com/gkv2htq

Rising Demand for Low-cost Consumer Electronics Drives Growth

The increasing disposable income of consumers in developing economies is a major driver for the global consumer electronics market. While developed regions such as the U.S. and Western Europe are becoming saturated markets for consumer electronics, the demand for all types of consumer electronics is growing rapidly in Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and large parts of Africa. The solid economic growth of countries such as India, China, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, and Thailand has propelled the global consumer electronics market and is likely to remain a determinant factor in the market’s growth in the coming years.

The reducing prices of electronic items, particularly smartphones, are another major factor driving the global consumer electronics market. As companies from developing companies have been able to exploit the availability of cheap labor to their advantage, established Western giants have faced increasing competition in developing regions in the last few years. The rapid rise of Chinese smartphone giants, Xiaomi and Huawei, is the perfect example of this phenomenon.

The consistent technological innovation in consumer electronics has also played out well for the global market for the same. The abundance of manufacturers of consumer electronics has resulted in several companies focusing on previously unexplored niches and developing products to suit the changing lifestyles of their key consumers.

“The major restraints on the global consumer electronics market are the erosion of the price margin of manufacturers due to the intense competition and the risk of continual technological advancements devaluing OEMs and making them unsustainable,” according to TMR’s lead analyst.

Popularity of Consumer Electronics Worldwide – http://bit.ly/2apkXQZ

Increasing Demand for Smartphones to Ensure Dominance of Handheld Devices

By product type, the global consumer electronics market is segmented into handheld devices, television sets, personal computers, audio/video devices, cameras and camcorders, gaming consoles, and personal care products. Of these, handheld devices, which include smartphones and tablets, are expected to remain the largest segment of the consumer electronics market in the 2014-2020 forecast period.

The increasing demand for low-cost handheld devices in developing regions is a prominent feature of the global consumer electronics market and is likely to remain unchanged over the aforementioned forecast period. Asia Pacific was the largest market for consumer electronics in 2013. Furthermore, the increasing demand for and production of consumer electronics in Southeast Asian countries are likely to ensure rapid growth of the Asia Pacific consumer electronics market in the 2014-2020 forecast period.

Transparency Market Research (TMR) is a global market intelligence company, providing global business information reports and services. Our exclusive blend of quantitative forecasting and trends analysis provides forward-looking insight for thousands of decision makers. TMR’s experienced team of Analysts, Researchers, and Consultants, use proprietary data sources and various tools and techniques to gather and analyze information.

Our data repository is continuously updated and revised by a team of research experts, so that it always reflects the latest trends and information. With a broad research and analysis capability, Transparency Market Research employs rigorous primary and secondary research techniques in developing distinctive data sets and research material for business reports.

DAQIN cell phone skins store

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iPhone SE rose gold cell phone skins

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