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.
Xiaomi’s spin-off brand Poco started off with a spec-packed handset for less money but soon shifted to even more modest price segments to appeal to a broader userbase in markets like India. The last mid-ranger from Poco was the X2, and now the brand is bringing an even cheaper model. The latest entrant to the category is the Poco M2 Pro, which is an ambitious phone from Xiaomi costing a little under $200 in India.
Xiaomi's Poco sub-brand rose to prominence in 2018 with the introduction of the truly flagship-killing Poco F1. The handset received pretty solid reviews, including our own which called it a lot of phone for the small price. Since then, Poco has released the follow-up to its initial hit in the form of the Poco X2 and the slightly higher end Poco F2 Pro. Now the value-focused brand is gearing up to launch a new phone for the mid-tier market: the Poco M2 Pro.
On many Android devices, Google Search lets you view tons of 3D models like animals, pets, skeletons, cells, Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, and much more. With the tap of a button, you can move these objects into your home and see them as though they were in your camera's viewfinder. It's even possible to snap photos and take videos. The list of supported phones is ever-expanding — devices like the Sony Xperia 1 II, the Poco X2, the Xiaomi Redmi K30, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab S6 Lite made the cut we when checked in at the beginning of June, and now a few more are popping up, including the flagship Galaxy S20 series.
Google dropped the first Android 11 Beta yesterday, which means functionality is getting close to what we can expect in the final, stable version. This is usually the stage at which other OEMs are brought on board so developers and enthusiasts can install the Android Beta on devices other than Google Pixels, and now Oppo, Xiaomi, and OnePlus are announcing support for several of their phones.
Poco’s first phone created quite a stir back in 2018 when it came out rocking the then-flagship Snapdragon 845 chip for an astonishingly low price tag of about $300. It took the Xiaomi spin-off close to two years to deliver its hotly anticipated follow-up, which finally landed on a global stage today. Named F2 Pro, the 2020 Poco flagship has received a serious spec bump from the previous model but has lost the price advantage that helped the brand stand out in its early days.
There's no secret as to how Poco’s first phone — the F1 — rose to immense popularity in a short period: It gave its users a taste of flagship-class performance on a tight budget. The F1 hasn’t seen a proper follow-up since it was launched about two years back, though, and all we got in the meantime was a mid-ranger. The Xiaomi sub-brand will likely change that come May 12, when Poco is expected to unveil a new high-end phone.
From an outsider’s perspective, the stateside smartphone market looks more carrier-driven with unwavering platform loyalty and consumer preference largely constricted to two top brands. Meanwhile, those in other regions are more accepting of phones from emerging makers that conveniently undercut their mainstream counterparts, often without making many compromises. OnePlus once led the burgeoning budget flagship segment, but many of its peers from China have since joined in to take a slice of the pie. Beyond OnePlus, which expanded its US availability not too long ago, there is a whole lot of other brands that you’ve probably never heard of in the US but are thriving elsewhere.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM in existence, and the project prides itself on bringing newer versions of Android to unsupported devices. However, Lineage has been a bit slow to roll out a version based on Android 10 — the Pie-based ROM was already available by this time last year. Thankfully, the next major version of LineageOS seems to be just around the corner.