This thursday, Xiaomi, the third best selling smartphone maker in the world unveiled its two latest flagships, which are comparable to the Apple iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.
Chief executive Lei Jun introduced the handheld at a conference in Beijing, starting first with the Mi Note, which he said is shorter, thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6 Plus. The latest fad in phablets has been on the rise, but exploded since Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. The Xiaomi phablet is a reported 6.95mm (0.27inch) thick and weighs 161 grams (5.7oz), which is 1.05mm thinner and 11g lighter than the iPhone Plus. It will feature a 13 megapixel camera made by Sony, coupled with a 4 megapixel front camera. Currently, it is priced at 2,299 yuan ($371), which is less than half the price for a version of the 16GB flagship from either Apple or Samsung.
Lei Jun also introduced the new and higher-end Mi Note Pro, which will have a 2K display of 515 pixels per inch, the brand new 64 bit Snapdragon processor with a 4G chip (that tops out at 450 MB per second), 4GB of RAM, and an additional 64GB of built-in storage, which will sell for a bargain of 3,299 yuan ($532).
Despite the obvious and direct comparison to Apple, Lei Jun made an effort to emphasize the originality of Xiaomi, citing the 2,318 patents developed last year, and giving a significant portion of his talk dedicated to the hard work of the designers at his firm.
In 2014, Xiaomi superseded Samsung in its domestic market as the largest selling smartphone producer. As the current number one manufacturer in China, Lei Jun knows he must look to an international market if the company is to continue its success. Last year they doubled their revenue and became the world’s most valuable tech startup valued at $45 billion. They sold 61 million phones in 2014, and for 2015, they are seeking to make 100 million. This will depend largely on their reception overseas. In developing countries, the fantastic specs for a reasonable and affordable price will go far. But in more developed markets like the U.S., they will face problems because most smartphone users receive subsidized contract plans, so the lower cost in not as favorable. Instead, they usually search for more innovative design and specs, which might pose a problem to the Chinese giant.
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