Xiaomi Targets Internationals With Low-Cost Phablet

By Vanessa Browning
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Xiaomi has unveiled the latest in its premium ‘Mi’ series of mobile devices: the Mi Note. While still low cost for a phablet of its specifications, the Mi Note will be offered in several versions – including one, the Note Pro, while will be Xiaomi’s most expensive product to date.

With a 5.7″ display (1920 x 1080), the Mi Note is clearly aimed at competitors such as the iPhone 6. It is larger, lighter and thinner than Apple’s phone, according to CEO Lei Jun, weighing 161g compared to the iPhone 6 Plus’ 172g. The phone also has a (very shallow) curved design on the front and back.

In terms of cameras, a 13MP device is featured on the rear (with optical image stabilisation) and 4MP on the front. The front cameras boasts large (2µm) pixels, for low-light shots, while the rear camera is flush to the body – Xiaomi says that it has a patent on the design.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU runs Android 4.4, with 3GB of RAM and 16GB or 64GB of storage. There are two 4G SIM slots – unlike previous Xiaomi phones, the 4G will work on non-Chinese frequency bands.

The Mi Note also features HiFi Audio, with a built-in amplifier.

Prices start at CNY1,965 for the 16GB phone and CNY2,400 for the 64GB model. The more expensive (CNY2,820) Note Pro, while will feature a 2k display, faster internet (Cat 9 LTE) and a Snapdragon 810 processor, will be launched later in the year.

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Xiaomi is able to keep its prices low through a combination of a smaller portfolio than some companies and a longer lifetime. The company continues to sell its older products even after releasing new ones, according to VP of international markets Hugo Barra (talking to TechCrunch). Most devices remain on shelves for 18-24 months, with three of four price cuts throughout that time. Many components are also shared between products, enabling Xiaomi to maintain its order discounts. (TA)