LineageOS 18.1 has been with us for some time now. I've always liked the LineageOS project a lot, starting back from the days when its predecessor, CyanogenMod, was still a thing. It allowed you to take almost any Android phone, new or old, and get it running a clean version of the latest flavor of Android. Now LineageOS 18.1 is landing for a handful of new Android smartphones, including devices from Samsung, Xiaomi, and BG.
The Poco F1 was one of Xiaomi's most popular phones, and it continued to sell well long after its announcement, and people have been begging for a true successor — that's how hard it was to beat the value it offered. But that was a 2018 phone, and the increasing cost of components, rising costs associated with supply chain bottlenecks, and the forcing of 5G modems in high-end chips had made it difficult for Poco to do an encore... until now.
The Poco X3 Pro may not follow the same naming scheme, but it’s the true successor to the F1 that we’ve all been waiting for.
The entry-level Poco M3 was the first phone to be released with Poco as an independent subbrand, but let's not be kidding. The company still works closely with Xiaomi, sharing both hardware and software design. That's also the case for the latest Poco phone the company has just launched today, the Poco M3 Pro 5G. It's made up of the same internal hardware as the Redmi Note 10 5G, the phone Xiaomi launched in Europe earlier this year. On the outside, a few things have changed, though, with Poco taking a lot of inspiration from the Samsung Galaxy S21.
Out with the old, in with the new: LineageOS cut support for Android 9 Pie earlier this year, and to make up for the loss, the open-source project has just released version 18.1 based on Android 11. It comes with official support for about 60 phones and tablets.
Poco's latest phones are hotly anticipated, especially with rumorsabound that we could be looking at a proper successor to the sub-brand's first phone, the Poco F1 with its incredible price-to-performance ratio. And today is finally the day Xiaomi is making good on that promise, though the latest entry to the line isn't the F2 — we're skipping straight ahead to the F3 and its slightly weaker sister model, the X3 Pro.
Earlier this week renders of a new Poco X3 Pro were spotted from familiar leakers. It seems like a release for this boosted version of the Poco X3 NFC, which has been out for about half a year, is immanent: now it's showing up in retailer listings, complete with a set of specs. It's mostly similar to the already-released device, but the text teases more RAM and storage, and a Snapdragon SoC we haven't heard of before.
The original Xiaomi-developed Pocophone was a surprise hit when it launched in 2018, offering almost everything you would expect from a flagship phone at a ~$300 price point (though it didn't really work in the United States). More phones have been released under the Poco brand since then, but there hasn't been a direct sequel to the original F1. Rumors about a possible Poco F2 have been circulating for a while, and now Xiaomi has confirmed it's on the way.
The Poco M3 was unveiled at a livestreamed event today, and at the same time, Poco Global is breaking out as its own brand independent of Xiaomi. This comes after 6 million Poco phones have been sold in more than 35 global markets, making it a very successful sub-brand. Its latest budget handset boasts an enormous 6,000 mAh battery, a large 6.53-inch display, and a triple camera system headed up by a 48MP main sensor.
Xiaomi’s been busy this year. In addition to launching a plethora of Xiaomi and Redmi-branded phones, the company’s turned Poco into its own sub-brand, starting with the Poco X2 in February, followed by the Poco F2 Pro in May, Poco M2 Pro in July, plus the Poco X3 NFC and Poco M2 in September. What started off as a single, $300 handset with flagship specs in 2018 — the Poco F1 (or Pocophone F1) — is now an entire product line.
Granted, Xiaomi’s mostly re-branding Redmi devices here, with Poco handsets getting a few hardware and software tweaks like unique memory and storage configurations, and a bespoke launcher.