I can't recall ever using a smartphone larger than the Xiaomi Mi Max. The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is the closest I've ever come, and the Mi Max is over a tenth of an inch larger on the display diagonal than even that phone. While it's not the largest smartphone ever, the Xiaomi Mi Max is certainly in the upper echelons of size in the taxonomic order smartphonus, dwarfing 5" devices we once called "large" just four or five years ago.
You might have noticed that there aren't a lot of Android TV boxes around. Aside from the original Nexus Player, the much-recommended NVIDIA SHIELD, and the generally regrettable Razer Forge TV, only a few somewhat random cable boxes and some Sony televisions are using Google's living room version of its mobile OS. But there's a surprise entry announced at Google I/O 2016: Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi. Its "Mi Box" Android TV device ticks all of the hardware boxes, but what's even more surprising is that it's coming to the United States.
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.
I'm not going to tell you why you may want to install a custom recovery. You already know you need one to replace your default ROM or make carbon copies of your device's current state. And you know that the Team Win Recovery Project's custom recovery is at the top of your list of options.
Now TWRP has arrived for quite a few devices, including a buttload of Xiaomi phones. We're talking about the Mi 2 and Mi 4, along with their various versions. There's the Redmi 3, Redmi Note 2, and even the Mi Pad. These make the list not long after the Redmi Note 3 did the same.
Thanks to enthusiast-focused hardware, low prices, and easy-to-modify software, Xiaomi's phones have become extremely popular among ROM fans in China. (And not for nothing, more than a few of them might want something aside from Xiaomi's heavily-modified Android user interface.) One of the latter low-price phones from the company is the Redmi Note 3, and it now has its own custom recovery from the standard-bearers at Team Win.
We had a chance to quickly go hands-on with the Xiaomi Mi 5 at MWC directly after its announcement this morning, and I know what your first question is: will I even be able to buy one? Answer: probably not. Xiaomi said China and India would be launch markets with "some other countries" following down the road, but if the company planned to make a big to do of opening up new markets for their hardware, I have a feeling they'd have made a lot more noise at this launch.
With that said, should you want one, even knowing you probably won't be able to through anything but 3rd-party retailers (and likely with non-functional 4G)?
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.
An article on PC Mag published earlier today claims that US Mobile is the "first legit" Xiaomi and Meizu carrier in America. This is, frankly, misleading. To clarify immediately: some US T-Mobile MVNO that no one has heard of is working with an electronics distributor in Hong Kong to sell gray market Xiaomi and Meizu devices on its online store, and they don't even support US LTE bands.
Any grizzled veteran of the aftermarket Android community (well, grizzled, in the sense that said community has been around for less than a decade) knows that users complaining about bootloaders is nothing new. Locked phone bootloaders with no user-accessible unlock option have become less of a contentious issue of late, now that customers on Neolithic carriers like AT&T and Verizon have more hardware options. But frustration is brewing in the growing and dedicated fanbase of Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi.
The XDA-Developers blog reports that Xiaomi has added locked bootloaders to several of its phones, including the Redmi Note Pro, Mi 4c, and Mi Note Pro, some of which are getting new bootloaders installed with the latest firmware.