The Chinese smartphone upstart known as Xiaomi has had its sights set on the United States for quite a while, but only now is that really coming to a head. In a recent interview with Engadget, Xiaomi's Global VP, and former Googler, Hugo Barra revealed that Xiaomi phones are being actively tested in the US in preparation for a launch sometime in the next two years.
For a US launch, if the respective phone manufacturer wants to partner with the carriers, a lot of very rigorous device testing is required beforehand, in the lab and in field tests, both of which are notoriously tough. Barra says in the interview, "Earlier this year we had a special version of Mi 5 that we made just for testing in the US, just so that we can start testing and doing small-field trials to sharpen our chops, if you will." Because Band 17, used by AT&T for LTE, is a rarely used band, it requires the carrier and manufacturer to co-operate in order for things to be as close to perfect upon launch. Most major manufacturers now know the procedure and requirements for testing a phone on a carrier network, but as Xiaomi is a newcomer to the lucrative US market, it must start from scratch and learn how things work.
Barra also said "we're not going to launch something until we're ready," so that makes it pretty clear that while a United States launch for Xiaomi is surely coming, that won't be for at least another year, and most likely two or more. You can read more at the source; it is a very concise, well thought-out, readable interview. However, this doesn't change the fact that it'll probably be a while before we get a fully functional Xiaomi phone sold in the US for Americans.