With every phone it releases, it feels like Xiaomi gets a little more mainstream in the West. Today, it's announcing two new products: MIUI 8, a major new version of the company's Android-based OS; and the Mi Max, which has a crazy-big 6.44-inch screen.
For a while now, MIUI (pronounced Me UI, although I always want to pronounce it like an acronym) has been the premier Chinese Android-based OS. While I haven't had a chance to try it out recently as I have no phone that runs it, it looks like the OS is much more mature than previously, which is good.
Despite not much of a western presence, Xiaomi is rapidly becoming one of the largest phone manufacturers in the world. At Mobile World Congress, the company has unveiled its new flagship product: the Xiaomi Mi 5.
Xiaomi has been pushing the envelope with its mid-range devices in the last few years with low price points and impressive hardware. The just-announced Redmi 3 takes things to a new level, though. For the equivalent of $106 (RMB 699), you get a phone with a brand new Snapdragon chip, a metal chassis, and a massive 4100 mAh battery. And when I say "you," I don't really mean you personally, most likely. This phone is launching in China only for the time being.
If you own a Xiaomi device, and you probably don't if you live outside of Asia, then you're familiar with MIUI. This build of Android ships on all of the company's devices. 7.0 arrived a couple months ago, and now folks are receiving the first update of 2016, version 7.1.
The update is small, and so are many of the tweaks. The file manager has changed private folders to "Hidden Folders," which let you hide files from view and protect them with a password. The code will be the same one guarding your lockscreen unless you leave your phone unlocked.
Xiaomi devices don't have a big footprint outside of Asia, but there are a ton of these phones in the world, and they all ship with the MIUI build of Android. Now, the final build of the new MIUI 7 is set to roll out on October 27th via OTA on supported devices. This version of Android brings a ton of improvements, but it's weirdly still based on KitKat for some devices and Lollipop on others.
Xiaomi might have global ambitions, but its latest phone is still sticking close to home. The Xiaomi Mi 4i was just announced for the Indian market, and it looks like a great mid-range phone that's priced around $200. It will be out on April 30th.
It's not uncommon for security firms to raise their public profile by publishing analyses of device security and vulnerabilities. However, Bluebox Security really stuck its virtual foot in its mouth this time. After posting what appeared to be a damning exposé of malware shipping on Xiaomi's Mi4 last week, the company has had to post an addendum admitting that it was fooled by a fake and Xiaomi's phones aren't shipping with malware after all. Oops.
Let's start with the processor, which will change depending upon which carrier you buy the phone for. The WCDMA and CDMA2000 versions of the phone intended for use on China Unicom and China Telecom, respectively, will be using a Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3Ghz on all four cores.
MIUI.us, an unofficial U.S. site for a popular Android custom ROM called MIUI (pronounced Me, You, I) developed by Chinese company Xiaomi, was hacked and defaced by a hacker who goes by the nickname Federal. All of the content on the homepage as well as the main forum page, was replaced with this:
Chinese company Xiaomi (known for their popular ROM MIUI) has just announced a new phone, and this one looks to be every bit as impressive today as the original was when it was announced a year ago. The specs on the cleverly named Xiaomi Phone 2 stand out even in the world of quad-core superphones, and the company has managed to do so while maintaining a price point of just $310 USD.
1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 CPU (Adreno 320 GPU, 28nm)
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
4.3" 720p IPS display
8MP rear camera, 2MP front
Launching in China in October
The company claims some ultra-impressive benchmark results (above left), and we're inclined to believe them.