One of the very first Xiaomi devices to officially land in the US was the Mi Box (known as the Mi Box 3 elsewhere) back in fall 2016. While the original model has already been replaced by the Mi Box S in the States, Xiaomi hasn’t stopped pushing newer updates to its nearly four-year-old box. Now the company's rolling out Android 9 Pie to those enrolled in the beta program.
While most of us know Xiaomi for its extensive smartphone lineup, it maintains an even bigger ecosystem of IoT products back home. Looking specifically at smart speakers, Xiaomi does have a bunch on offer, but they all use a local voice assistant that only speaks Chinese. One of those speakers is now making an international debut as the Mi Smart Speaker with Google Assistant and Chromecast on board.
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.
Android has always taken flak from Apple for its OS update policies, but just because every Android device may not get system updates quickly doesn't mean they have to miss out on features. Google allows manufacturers to update system level apps through the Play Store without having to push entire system upgrades. Xiaomi is up to just that right now, publishing its core Security app to the Play Store.
Xiaomi’s extensive reach in the Indian smartphone market is largely due to its entry and mid-tier phones popularized under the Redmi sub-brand. The company did branch out to budget flagships with the Mi Mix 2, Poco F1, and the Redmi K20 Pro in the last couple of years, but it kept this crucial market devoid of a real flagship. That changes now as Xiaomi has introduced its premium Mi 10 5G in India, along with a pair of truly wireless earbuds and a 4K Android TV box.
Xiaomi's phones are sold at incredibly competitive prices because there's very little profit margin — much like Amazon and Google, the company subsidizes its hardware with income from online services and data from its users. A recent report from Forbes claims Xiaomi's Mint Browser collects more user data than is necessary, but the company has denied any wrongdoing.
Xiaomi’s widely popular budget lineup is a complex nexus of sub-brands, rebrands, variants, and configurations. Just look how the recent Redmi Note 9 Pro series is sold under different names with slightly varying specs in many parts of the world, and the Poco X2 is a rebranded Redmi phone. Further adding to the muddle, the manufacturer just announced the non-Pro Redmi Note 9 along with a cheaper Lite variant of the Mi Note 10 line, which debuted in November.
Xiaomi has a series of sub-brands that operate in the low to mid-tier segments, earning it a dominant position in markets like India. In its home nation of China, the company shifts focus to its premium products that are usually marketed under Mi branding. Following a packed 2019, when we got to see a total of four smartphones make up the the Mi 9 line, Xiaomi has refreshed its flagship series for 2020 with a pair of devices. Earlier today, the company made the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro official in China following several rounds of teasing and leaks.
Xiaomi has introduced a system-wide dark mode in version 10 of its MIUI software, but the company is still in the process of darkening all its apps, including non-system ones. The latest app to receive that treatment is the Mi File Manager, but that's not the only change in its most recent update.
Taking a page from Oppo and OnePlus or Huawei and Honor, Xiaomi seems ready to spin its Redmi line-up into a separate, independent brand. This wouldn't be a first for the company though, as it already has the standalone Poco brand as well.