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.
Xiaomi spin-off Poco has been intensely engaged with Oppo spin-off Realme in a budget smartphone pricing war in India. Its latest salvo comes in the form of a Rs. 10,000 device called the Poco C3 featuring formidable core specs to enable quality gaming at a new price tier. There are, though, a few trade-offs to have made this product possible.
Almost exactly two years ago, Xiaomi pulled a page from OnePlus’ playbook and stunned everyone with the Poco F1 (or Pocophone F1), a phone with proper flagship specs that cost just $300. While the F1 cut some corners to achieve this feat (plastic build, no NFC), it still delivered amazing performance and battery life. Then in 2019, it was followed up by… crickets?
While Redmi’s excellent K20 Pro was technically the Poco F1’s successor, Xiaomi didn’t release a Poco-branded device last year. That changed back in February 2020, when the company announced it was spinning Poco off as a sub-brand.
LineageOS is the most-used custom Android ROM around, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for others. Paranoid Android was a popular choice back in the KitKat days, and while the ROM returned in full force with Nougat builds in 2017, there hasn't been much news since. Now the project is back (again), touting Android 10 builds for nine phones so far.