Xiaomi is still one of those companies almost nobody in the US or Europe has heard, considering they are based primarily in China, it is understandable. With the recent release of their new smartphone, the Xiaomi Hongmi, the Chinese developer and manufacturer has gained exposure, with 100,000 sales in 90 seconds and seven million reservations.
Comparing this with some top of the end devices, the iPhone 5 hit five million pre-orders and sold 20 million in a month; Samsung sold 10 million Galaxy S4’s in about a fortnight and it took HTC a month to sell 10 million HTC One units. Xiaomi, currently only selling to Chinese buyers, managed to get almost 10 million in less than a few days with the Xiaomi Hongmi.
The reason for the huge interest is the Xiaomi Hongmi comes at $135 with top-end specs. This is almost $500 less than a normal flagship smartphone would cost. In China, where there is no unsubsidised contracts available for customers, it makes it all the more relevant.
The CEO of Xiaomi is pleased with the performance of the new smartphone, but is reluctant to be called China’s Apple, as some Chinese media firms have started to say. Lei Jun stated Xiaomi is more like Amazon with a hint of Google, selling hardware at no profit and gaining revenue from the software sales.
This is a clever move and has worked for Xiaomi before, currently the third largest manufacturer in China. The company uses MIUI, a custom design of Android with lots of different customisations. Xiaomi sells digital content to make up for the cheap hardware sales.
We are unlikely to see Xiaomi send the Hongmi over to the US and Europe, with the company routed in China for the most part. From early previews and previously looks at the MIUI interface, we are sad to see the one partner that seems to get software on Android not come to the US.