There will soon be yet another smartphone on the market in America that is sure to turn some heads. It’s called the Xiaomi Mi6 and it has the potential to shake up the world of smartphone in general and, as it will be available in America for the first time from this manufacturer, could change the smartphone user demographic in America as well.
Founded on April 6, 2010, this Chinese company has the possibility to change the smartphone world in 2017 with the release of the Xiaomi Mi6. Xiaomi is a privately owned Chinese electronics company that is headquartered in Beijing and it is the world’s 4th largest smartphone maker.
In fact, although many of us think of smartphones as somehow American or European inventions, that is not the case at all. This website ranked the top 10 smartphone manufacturers in the world and they were: Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, LENOVO, LG, TCL Communication, ZTE, and Micromax were at the top in 2016.
Xiaomi is involved in all aspects of the technology industry, selling smartphones, mobile apps, laptops, and other electronics. It’s actually quite an impressive rise considering that Xiaomi only released its smartphone in 2011. Since then the company has expanded to a wider range of electronics including a smart home. In 2014 alone Xiaomi sold over 60 million smartphones alone.
Wikipedia states that the founder and CEO of the company, Lei Jun, is China’s 23rd richest person according to Forbes and the company has over 8,000 employees. Most of the employees are in mainland China, India, Malaysia, and Singapore and it is expanding to Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa, and Brazil.
Per Wikipedia, the rise of Xiaomi has been so fast that it is almost scary, but it is certainly impressive:
- According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Xiaomi was the 3rd largest smartphone maker in the world in October 2014, following Samsung and Apple and followed by Lenovo and LG;
- The same year, in 2014, Xiaomi became the largest smartphone vendor in China when it overtook Samsung;
- By the end of 2014, the company became the world’s most valuable technology start-up after it received US$1.1 billion from investors – making Xiaomi’s valuation over US$46 billion.
How Do They Do It?
Xiaomi seems to succeed because it is different. It does what Samsung and Apple can’t, or won’t do, which is to price the phones at almost the same prices of the materials required to build them, while making sure not to compromise on the quality and performance of their smartphones compared to other premium smartphones.
In order to reduce overhead costs, Xiaomi doesn’t have any physical stores at all and only sells products on-line. They do not use traditional advertising, instead relying on social networking and word-of-mouth. As they are a privately-owned company, they have made the choice to keep very tight control over their stock, allowing them to purchase items in larger orders as the need arises and the prices are low.
Lei Jun, the Founder and CEO, has made it part of his company’s model to actively listen to their customers and follow their advice and recommendations – a concept that would be inconceivable to Apple or Samsung. The project managers at Xiaomi spend time browsing through user forums and picking up on suggestions from their customers. Using this method, what was a concept one day is literally shipped out in a new batch of phones every Tuesday at noon Beijing time. These new phones often contain new software builds and minor hardware tweaks that were only suggestions from customers a week before. Xiaomi calls this process “design as you build.”
Lastly, the operating system used by Xiaomi, MIUI, is downloadable to other Android phones. This not only makes the apps and content of Xiaomi easier to access, but it will also make the transition easier when Xiaomi enters the United States and European markets.
What Is This New Phone All About? Why So Much Hype?
First, this will be the first of the Xiaomi smartphones to be released in America which is exciting for consumers and potentially threatening to Apple and Samsung. It is an attractive phone and it is packed with features that put most of the Apple and Samsung models currently available here to shame. It is compatible with Android phones which may turn off some Apple users but the features may make people think twice.
Rumored Specifications of the Xiaomi Mi6:
- 5.2” Ultra HD 4K screen display with a resolution of 4096 x 2160;
- Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core processor clocked at 2.5 GHZ;
- 23 MP rear-facing camera;
- 7 MP front-facing camera;
- 4000 m. A. h. battery; and
- Composite metal uni-body design with rear glass.
What Does All That Mean?
The Xiaomi Mi6 will be the first Xiaomi smartphone available in Canada, the US and other places that have been waiting for quality, affordable smartphones. It is suggested by the above website that this phone, the Xiaomi Mi6 will cost less than half of the competitor’s phones – Samsung, LG, Apple, HTC, etc. That makes it an attractive alone;
But wait, the Mi6 has more features, a lot more features in fact:
- The screen size on the Mi5 was 5.0” and the Mi6 is rumored to have a 5.2” screen. Not only will the screen be larger but the resolution will be far superior. It has a 4k screen (per Wikipedia, “4K resolution refers to a horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels and vertical resolution on the order of 2,000 pixels.” This is what the 4096 x 2160 resolution means. The ppi stands for pixels per inch and it is a measure of sharpness – the density of illuminated points on a display screen. To compare, the Apple iPhone 6s has a ppi of 326 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 has around a 577 ppi. That is a HUGE difference;
- The processor on the Xiaomi Mi6 will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core processor with a speed of 2.5-2.7 GHZ. The Apple iPhone 6 uses a 1.4GHz A8 chip with 1GB RAM (Apple does not use Snapdragon), the Samsung S5 is powered by a 2.5 quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB RAM, and the HTC One (M8) is powered by a 2.26 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB RAM. The only phone that we have available currently that comes close to the processing power that the Xiaomi Mi6 provides is the Samsung S5;
- The cameras on the Xiaomi Mi6 are also reported to be a 23 MP rear facing camera and a 7 MP front-facing camera. These cameras will feature optical image maintenance and auto focus selection, features which could well make the Xiaomi Mi6 one of the best photo and video devices of the year – let alone on a smartphone. Furthermore, there are hints about an “enhanced Optical Image Stabilization Plus” feature which will allow you to take pictures or videos in a moving car with the finished product look like you were sitting still;
- It is possible that the rumors about wireless charging and a rapid charging feature are true? Let’s hope so. The wireless charger is supposed to work by putting it on a charging matt – any charging mat – and it will charge your phone to 30% in under 20 minutes. The rapid charging feature will give you a 50% charge in 30 minutes but it must be a compatible charger;
- No more fingerprint scanner with the Xiaomi Mi6. This phone is reported to come equipped with either a retina scanner or an iris scanner;
- More memory is also one of the many rumored features. The possibility that you will be able to expand your memory by way of a Micro SD card slot will offer customers an extra 128GB of memory. The phones themselves will come with the standard choices of 16, 32, and 64GB;
- Battery life of 4000 m.A.h. – Again, the reported battery life is just a rumor but I didn’t know what m.A.h. meant and so I thought we could learn together.
Per a man named Tom Quetchenbach, who I do not know, but he states that he works in a lab that tests products with small rechargeable batteries, on the Quora website he explains: mah means nothing because that is not the proper way to write it (and if we are going to learn this stuff then let’s learn it correctly please). The proper way to write this is “mAh” with a capital “A” and it means “milliampere hour.” A milliampere hour is a unit of electrical charge and is the most common and easiest way to talk about the capacity for small batteries. Larger batteries are measured in ampere hours – 1 Ah = 1000 hours. Mr. Quetchenbach states:
“Very roughly, a 1000 mAh battery can supply 1000 mA for one hour, or 100 mA for ten hours, or 10 mA for 100 hours, but this is a simplification since the capacity of the battery depends on the discharge rate. (How much it changes depends on the type of battery.) So a rating of 1000 mAh is actually an incomplete description of the battery’s capacity unless you also know the corresponding discharge rate (https://www.quora.com/What-does-mAh-mean.)
That doesn’t make much sense to me, except now I know that it is “mAh,” but through more research, and obviously depending on the brightness and other options that you can change on your phone, a 4000mAH battery should last over 9 hours (http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/05/28/this-is-how-long-smartphone-batteries-should-last/). I’m sure that would be more if you were streaming videos but that is the simple answer that I got.
- It is also rumored to have DUAL SIM support, Bluetooth 4.1 Version, Wi-Fi Direct, and Wi-Fi Hotspot.
Due to the secrecy, whether intentional or not, regarding the Xiaomi Mi6 the price is currently unknown for countries where the phone has yet to be released. It was supposed to be released late in 2016 in China, although other research suggests it will be available around March of 2017, at the following prices (using this conversion site):
- Approximately 2499 CNY for 4GB RAM+32GB ROM, around $350 (US);
- Approximately 2799 CNY for 6GB RAM+53GB ROM, around $400 (US); and
- Approximately 2999 CNY for 6GBRAM+126GB ROM, around $430 (US).
In India, it is expected to cost (again using this conversion site):
- Approximately 24,999 Rs for 4GBRAM+32GB ROM, around $368 (US);
- Approximately 27,999 Rs for 6GBRAM+64 ROM, around $412 (US); and
- Approximately 29,999 Rs for 6GB RAM+128GB ROM, around $442 (US).
It has been difficult to find information for the prices in the US; however, one of the main selling points has been the cost-effectiveness of the Xiaomi Mi6 so one would expect it would be cheaper than a comparable Samsung or iPhone.
The Exterior of the Xiaomi Mi6:
This is a large part of what all the excitement about the Mi6 is about. The body style. It’s also why I put this at the end of the article. If the rumors are true, this will be the first smartphone with a full-body curved display and no bezels around the screen. This means that the entire phone will be made of glass and there will be no “comfort zone” on the sides of the phone.
If this is true then it is, without a doubt, a beautiful phone and probably an engineering marvel. There will be people lining up to purchase a phone like this. Sadly, there is also reality. And reality is, that even under the best of circumstances phones break (remember the video of the first guy that purchased an iPhone 6 only to drop it and shatter the screen?).
I know that iPhones and other electronics come with “Gorilla glass,” but Xiaomi has, so far, not been one of the companies to use it and I although I can’t remember exactly how many cell phones I have owned in my 25 years of owning them (way before iPhones), I can tell you that I have paid to have the glass replaced on a phone 4 times and each time it has gotten more expensive. And although I am sure that there is a way to keep phones smudge and fingerprint free, I have yet to figure it out.
It is supposed to have a metallic body with glass at the back of the phone, but again these are all speculations at this point and there is very little information coming from Xiaomi itself.
In fact, the only picture of the Xiaomi Mi6 that I could find that was from the Xiaomi company is this one, found here: http://www.xiaomidevice.com/xiaomi-mi6.html. It appears to me to be a picture of the back of the phone which is not a very telling image in my opinion.
I was really excited about the Xiaomi Mi6, even though I am an Apple user not out of any great loyalty but because it is what I know, but if it truly is an all-glass phone from a company that has not, in the past, used gorilla-glass then my hopes have been dashed quite a bit. I would not purchase this phone, unless it really is incredibly priced, due to the glass and my tendency to break the glass on phones.
These are some of the features listed on the Xiaomi page.
Main Features of the Xiaomi Mi6:
- Display – 5.2 inch, 1920 x 1080;
- CPU – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Quad Core;
- System: MIUI V7;
- RAM + ROM: 4GB RAM + 64 GB ROM
- Camera – 4.0 0MP front camera + 16.0MP 6 element lens, f/2.0 aperture back camera;
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, and OTG;
- Bluetooth: 4.2; and
- SIM Card: Dual SIM dual standby.
Xiaomi Mi6 4G Smartphone Specs:
- Release date – February 2017;
- SIM Card – Dual Nano-SIM, Dual Standby;
- Color: Black;
- OS: MIUI 7;
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Quad Core;
- GPU: Adreno 540;
- ROM: 64GB;
- RAM: 4GB.
- Display Size: 5.2 inches;
- Type: IPS, capacitive screen;
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels, 428 ppi;
- No card extender; and
- Dual cameras: 4.0MO front camera; 16-Megapixel back camera.
Xiaomi 6 4G Mobile Phone Basic Functions:
- Ringtone types: Polyphonic/MP3;
- Audio File Format: PCM, AAC/AAC+/ eAAC+, MP3, AMR-NB AND WB, FLAC, APE, DSD, WAV;
- Video File Format: MP4; M4V; MKV, XVID, WAV, AAC, MP3, AMR, FLAC, APE, DSD, JPEG/BMP/GIF/PNG/GIF;
- FM Radio: Yes, but earphones are needed;
- Earphone port: 3.5 mm;
- GPS enabled with: GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, Beidou;
- NFC – Yes;
- Notification LED: Yes;
- WiFi Display: Yes;
- WiFi Direct: Yes;
- Wifi: Yes, 802. 11a/b/g/n/ac;
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.2;
- Sensor: Infrared; Gyro; Acceleration sensors, Proximity sensor; Ambient light sensor, Hall sensor, Electronic compass, Barometer;
- Multi-Touch: Support;
- Size: 148.55 x 71.2 x 7.2 mm (5.85 x 2.80 x .28 inches);
- Weight: 135 grams (4.76 ounces);
- Fingerprint recognition;
- Video Call;
- Sound Recorder;
- NFG; and
Xiaomi Mi6 Mobile Phone Accessories:
- 1 3000mAh Battery;
- 1 USB Cable; and
- 1 charger (the type of charger or adapter plugs will be sent according to the shipping address of the buyer.)
It is obvious that there is still a lot unknown about the Xiaomi Mi6 and both consumers across the world as well as competitors are anxiously awaiting the day when the Xiaomi Mi6 is available – which should be in March of 2017. Then will we hopefully get the answers that we have been waiting for regarding the Xiaomi Mi6 phone.