【News】Xiaomi announces Redmi Note 5A, priced from RMB 699

BEIJING, 21 August 2017 — Leading technology company Xiaomi today released Redmi Note 5A, an attractively-designed 5.5-inch smartphone priced from RMB 699.

A simple, symmetrical design

Redmi Note 5A makes no compromise in any aspect, including design. It features a symmetrical design and exudes a simple and elegant aesthetic. Though equipped with a 5.5-inch screen, Redmi Note 5A weighs a mere 150g, thanks to a complex manufacturing process that gives its non-metal back a metal-like feel — without the added weight. Meanwhile, two decorative separation lines adorn the top and bottom of its back.

An ultra-thin Perforated Case for Redmi Note 5A will also be available. The perforated design allows better airflow and provides a non-slip surface. This case comes in blue, pink, and black.

Essential features to suit your needs

Redmi Note 5A is powered by a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor and comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. The 5.5-inch screen on Redmi Note 5A is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

Redmi Note 5A comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera which supports PDAF for fast autofocus, and also sports a high-capacity 3080mAh battery that lasts all day. With a two-plus-one SIM tray design, Redmi Note 5A allows two SIM cards and one MicroSD card to be used at at the same time, while memory can be expanded up to 128GB. Finally, a built-in IR blaster means the phone also doubles as a universal remote control.

Redmi Note 5A Prime with front Selfie-light and fingerprint sensor

In addition to the standard edition, Redmi Note 5A Prime was also announced today. This version features Selfie-light and fingerprint recognition. Selfies turn out better with the front-facing 16-megapixel camera and an independent Selfie-light, which simulates the effect of natural light. The result is more beautiful selfies with clearer facial features, brighter skin tone and more expressive eyes.

Redmi Note 5A Prime is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 435 processor and comes in either 3GB+32GB or 4GB+64GB configurations. It also has a built-in fingerprint sensor at the back.Redmi Note 5A is available in Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold and is available at RMB 699. Redmi Note 5A Prime starts at RMB 899 for the 3GB+32GB version and is priced at RMB 1199 for the 4GB+64GB configuration. All versions are upgradeable to Xiaomi’s lightning-fast MIUI 9 at the end of August and go on sale on Mi.com, as well as Xiaomi’s flagship online stores on Tmall and JD.com starting August 22 at 10am.

Behind-the-scenes of our ID team, and more

In our last post with Li Ningning, senior director of ID, Mi Ecosystem, we learned about her thoughts on the Mi Ecosystem design. Now, we dive deeper into Mi Ecosystem’s ID team and its opinion and plans for Xiaomi’s design.

Tell us more about the Mi Ecosystem’s design team. 

Our team keeps growing. What started as a 2-3-person team has grown into a team of almost a dozen members.

The team is extremely diverse and our designers come from various backgrounds. Work experience is extremely important when we hire new talent and we ensure that their previous design work matches the tone of our tastes.

I trust my team, and we have team brainstorms to get initial ideas going. Then, I let the right person take over a project in which he has more interests and is more familiar with the topic. I think if you love a product, you will be more inspired and have the patience to carry through the design.

Do Mi Ecosystem designers receive any perks for impressive designs?

Xiaomi attaches more and more importance to designs and provides designers with rewards; however, what drives our designers relentlessly is the recognition from more authoritative design experts and associations.

After winning the Gold iF World Design Award and the Red Dot Best of the Best 2017 Award, our designers were given an incentive trip to Germany to see world-class industrial design. This was a great reward that will directly benefit our work.

Xiaomi invested in 89 ecosystem companies. How does the ID team solve the disagreements and conflicts among so many moving components?

We have very strict standards for quality control and we push our ecosystem companies to increase yield rates. Our designers are encouraged to go to front-line to get a better understanding of manufacturing and operation. This allows our designers and our ecosystem companies to have better mutual understanding, knowing how strict we are with our products and designs.

Some products seem simple, but require complex techniques. Take our Yeelight Beside Lamp, Mi Beside Lamp and Mi LED Desk Lamp, for example. Each lamp uses a different technique, which was more difficult than initially expected, so massive production with the same standard can’t work. We strive to overcome difficulties, by working closely with our partners and ecosystem companies to create a great product.

What do you think of Western and Eastern design styles? Are they very different or are they becoming more similar? Why?

Western and Eastern aesthetic tastes are becoming more similar. They learn from each other and add shared elements to their designs.

How long is the life span for consumer product designs?

Five years at most, but this is not the fault of designers or designs. Consumer product designs are largely affected by hardware, which updates very, very fast, so design styles have to change accordingly.

What separates Mi Ecosystem’s designs from other brands

“Mi Ecosystem has its own design style, and our designers have their own bottom-line,” according to Li Ningning, Senior Director of Industrial Design of Mi Ecosystem and the 79th employee of Xiaomi. Li shared her unique perspective on Mi Ecosystem’s design style and provided an inside look into her journey on the Xiaomi team from the company’s infancy to now.

Why did you join Xiaomi?

Xiaomi co-founder Liu De was my senior schoolmate, and almost two years after I graduated from Art Center College of Design, he came to me and asked whether I’d like to join the startup.

I learned design strategies at school, so I hoped to apply them in the workplace after graduation. I also thought it would be great to work with a group of talented people.

Frankly speaking, I didn’t consider too much and simply took a leap of faith on the opportunity. I joined Xiaomi in February of 2011, becoming its 79th employee.

How do styles of different brands in various industries look alike today?

First, I think we need to differentiate aesthetic trend from design style. Simplicity is a general aesthetic trend of our time. Most people like it, so most companies and designers follow it.

That’s why when you see today’s home decorations, fashion trends, and things in other areas, their designs are very simple. But style is different. Style can’t be copied.

How would you describe the design style of Mi Ecosystem? How does Mi Ecosystem’s design stand out among others?

I would use three words to describe Mi Ecosystem’s design style: Simple, peaceful and humble.

By simple, we are saying that 80% of our customers can accept our design style. We always use white or other neutral colors so as to suit most of our customers’ tastes.

Peaceful means that we are reasonable and efficient in balancing between designers’ professionalism and products’ functionality.

Humble means our products won’t clash aesthetically in an environment. They can easily fit in almost all kinds of home decoration styles.

Mi Ecosystem has its own style, and our designers have their own bottom-line. The first principle is to never copy. The second is that you should take pride in your own designs. If you copy others or you don’t devote yourself fully to your designs, you won’t take pride in them.

We take ourselves seriously as engineers and keep crafting our designs hundreds of times, until eventually we are satisfied.

Xiaomi’s design style and ability have been recognized by more and more authorized third-party design associations – Mi LED Desk Lamp was awarded the prestigious Gold iF World Design Award and Mi Electric Scooter won the Red Dot Best of the Best 2017 Award. What stood out to you about these two products?

Smart LED Desk Lamp’s design greatly balanced functionality and appearance. It has a maximum opening angle of 135 degrees, which is enough for all types of daily usage. The revealed red wire gives the lamp some characters. In addition, it is priced competitively at RMB 169!

Scooters used to be very bulky, but Mi Electric Scooter is not. Its body uses super light aluminum that is primarily used in the aviation industry, so it only weighs at 12.5 kg and is easy to fold.

The criteria for industrial design is subjective, but good industrial design needs to be two things: balanced and simple. Good industrial design can influence or create some changes in the industry.

What Mi Ecosystem products do you use at home?

A lot. Mi LED Desk Lamp, Mi Motion Sensor, Mi Smart Power Strip and others. They have very simple and well-knit designs.

One of my favorite products is our power strip. In the past, power strips were ugly. People didn’t realize that this device could be well designed. However, we believed that everyday products should be aesthetically pleasing and we made great efforts to innovate power strips’ designs. You can see that the three-in-one holes on Mi Power Strip are neatly aligned. We changed people’s perception about power strips and we have led the industry. Now, you can see other brands’ power strips also look better.

What’s your favorite design style?

I like very simple styles. My home decoration takes a simple design, and most of the furniture has a light color. I also prefer simply designed clothes and other fashion items.

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We offer smartphones, and toothbrushes

When Xiaomi released the Mi Electric Toothbrush under our “Mi Ecosystem” sub-brand, we were met with questions as to why we are creating products outside of our traditional smartphone offerings. People couldn’t understand why we were branching out to become a “supermarket”. And we’ve received this type of response in the past with our other products like the Mi Air Purifier, towels and suitcases.

And the answer is simple: Xiaomi is much more than a smartphone company. We are a company that provides innovation to everyone at every level — from smartphones and technology to IoT connected smart products to the basic everyday tools like power banks, backpacks and pens.

We live in a connected world and we strive to provide the latest technology and products to our consumers. You can understand our current product line-up in three groups: smartphones, smart products and non-smart products.

However, we don’t lose focus even with this array of products. No one company can be the best at everything, so while we focus on our core products, we invest in companies that are able to take us into new and exciting categories. We have so far invested in 89 companies that design and manufacture products beyond our three core product categories: smartphones, smart TVs and smart routers. Among these, many have been incubated by Xiaomi from their founding. In fact, we are the world’s most successful hardware incubator.

You can understand our current product line-up in three groups: smartphones, smart products and non-smart products.

Smartphones are at the center of everything we do, which has attracted a large group of users who are young and Internet savvy. From our latest Mi 6 to Mi MIX to our Redmi phones, we are able to offer the latest technology at very accessible prices.

The second product division is our smart devices that can be connected to our IoT platform, like Mi Water Purifier, Mi Induction Heating Rice cooker and others. Our hope is that these smart products help enhance our Mi Fans’ lives, where traditional non-connected products cannot. For example, with our smart Mi Air Purifier, we’re able to turn the unit on with a Mi Home app during our evening commute home.

The third is our “non-smart” products, like towels, and suitcases. While they are not smart products, they are products we inevitably need in our everyday lives. One of our favorite examples is the 90 Point Luggage, which is reliable, attractive and priced disruptively for more people to enjoy the high quality of this product.

We are a company that constantly seeks innovation at every level and the opportunities surrounding smart products are unending. We understand the rise in demand for smart products, as after all, we too reap the benefits of having a smart Mi Air Purifier. However, to fulfill our mission of “Innovation for Everyone”, we also strive to bring high-quality “non-smart” consumer products to our users.

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【News】Xiaomi announces Mi 5X, unveils MIUI 9 in China and launches Mi AI Speaker

Xiaomi announces Mi 5X, unveils MIUI 9 in China and launches Mi AI Speaker

Global version of MIUI 9 to be unveiled soon

BEIJING, 26 July 2017 — Leading technology company Xiaomi today unveiled its latest smartphone with a dual camera setup, Mi 5X. During the same event, Xiaomi also took the wraps off MIUI 9, the latest refresh of its Android-based operating system. At the same time, it announced a voice-activated smart speaker, Mi AI Speaker, which acts as the hub for Xiaomi’s smart home products and ties the company’s Mi Ecosystem strategy together.

Mi 5X: Picture Perfect Dual Camera

Mi 5X shares a similar dual camera setup used in Xiaomi’s flagship device Mi 6, with wide angle and telephoto lenses used to incredible effect. The two lenses allow Mi 5X to calculate what is in the foreground and what is in the background, creating a depth-of-field effect that typically requires a DSLR camera to achieve, and allowing the user to capture beautiful portrait photos with out-of-focus backgrounds. Mi 5X also supports 2x optical zoom, which makes sure photos of distant subjects remain clear without loss of image quality, as well as 10x digital zoom.

Available in Black, Gold, and Rose Gold, Mi 5X has an attractive all-metal unibody design. It measures just 7.3mm in thickness and has hidden antenna lines on the back for a seamless look and feel. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor based on the 14nm manufacturing process, as well as a 3080mAh battery, Mi 5X provides users with a smooth experience that lasts all day.

Mi 5X is yet another device that underscores Xiaomi’s commitment to making innovations affordable to the widest possible range of consumers. With 4GB RAM and 64 ROM, Mi 5X is priced at RMB 1499 and available starting 1 August via Mi.com and Mi Home stores, as well as a number of other partner sites and retail channels.

Key features of Mi 5X:

Attractive metal unibody design

Dual camera, optical zoom:

12MP wide angle with 4-axis OIS stabilization + 12MP telephoto

Exceptional portrait photography with background blur

Beautify, for natural selfie enhancements

Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 with 14nm process technology

5-inch full-HD display

3080mAh battery

4GB RAM + 64GB storage

Available in Black, Gold and Rose Gold

Dual SIM (3-choose-2 hybrid SIM tray)

4 x 75.8 x 7.3mm

MIUI 9: Lightning Fast

Xiaomi co-founder Hong Feng revealed today that MIUI has crossed over 280 million users across 142 countries and regions across the world, and took the wraps off MIUI 9, the latest update to its popular Android-based operating system that now delivers a much faster user experience. Wide-ranging changes were made under the hood that result in a faster and smoother user experience, such as making simple tasks like starting apps even more instantaneous, and several new features have been introduced.

With a new image search feature, users will be able to find photos, documents, and even screenshots of chat messages through intelligent recognition of faces, document types and even text in images.

MIUI 9 also introduces a “Smart assistant” feature that makes it easier for users to access often-needed information and frequently-used functions by simply sliding the screen to the left without opening every app — including favorite items, expenditures, courier information, and day-to-day schedules.

Another new feature called “Smart app launcher” quickly launches a related app based on content on the screen. For example, a link to a Taobao product page no longer requires the user to copy the link, return to the home page, find and start the Taobao app before getting to the desired product page. Upon highlighting a Taobao link, a pop-up appears at the bottom of the screen that lets the user bring up the product page instantly. This also applies to addresses, restaurant names, and even TV programs — when they are highlighted, the appropriate app can be launched with a single tap at the bottom of the screen.

Since it was launched on 16 August 2010, MIUI has been constantly updated every week for more than 340 weeks. Devices launched five years ago are still receiving updates. In China, MIUI 9 will be available on 11 August as a public beta for Mi 6, Mi 5X, and Redmi Note 4X. Support for other models will be rolled out gradually starting 25 August.

Mi AI Speaker: The hub for Xiaomi’s smart home products

More than being a smartphone company, Xiaomi is also fulfilling its goal of bringing innovation to everyone by addressing the full spectrum of consumer electronics, which is where its Mi Ecosystem strategy comes into play. By investing and incubating in 89 companies to date, Xiaomi is able to offer a wide array of smart home products. After three years, the Mi Ecosystem IoT platform has crossed 60 million connected devices, becoming the world’s largest smart hardware platform.

Today, Xiaomi announced Mi AI Speaker, a high-quality speaker system that comes with an array of six microphones to detect voice commands from all directions, and that serves as a control hub for the company’s smart home products.

Stemming from a collaboration between the Mi TV team, “Explorer’s Lab” and the “Mi Brain” R&D team, Mi AI Speaker further continues Xiaomi’s commitment to exploring AI technology. Previously, Xiaomi already applied AI technology to Mi TV, developing a built-in deep learning AI system for effortless discovery of new content.

Mi AI Speaker will retail at RMB 299, but will be launched first in August through a beta program that is recruiting 1000 users who will each pay RMB 1 to help train Mi AI Speaker to be even more intelligent in the early stage.

With voice commands, users can tune in to Internet radio stations, enjoy music from streaming services, and listen to audio books. Mi AI Speaker also acts as a personal assistant, giving information such as the weather, traffic conditions, personal calendar reminders, and latest news. In addition, Mi AI Speaker serves as a smart home assistant. It is able to connect to and control a host of products including the Mi TV, Mi Box, Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Mi Induction Heating Rice Cooker, Mi Air Purifier, Mi Electric Fan and smart lamps. Through products like Mi Smart Plug and Mi Smart Power Strip, “non-smart” home appliances can also be controlled with Mi AI Speaker.

Through an initiative termed Platform Waterdrop, Xiaomi is also seeking to welcome more third-party applications for Mi AI Speaker. This initiative does not require developers to have prior experience in artificial intelligence, and makes it easy for tools and services to work with Mi AI Speaker.

Mercury Silver Mi 6: 100 units to go on sale

Demonstrating Xiaomi’s constant innovation in materials and relentless drive in pursuing craftsmanship, it also created a Mercury Silver version of its flagship smartphone Mi 6, which was first announced in April this year. The Mercury Silver version of Mi 6 is extremely difficult to produce and is an outcome of Xiaomi’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of materials technology.

Today, Xiaomi revealed that 100 units of the Mercury Silver Mi 6 will be available on Mi.com in China on August 3. Priced at RMB 3,999, the package includes the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage smartphone, a letter from a Xiaomi engineer and an exclusive F-code which gives the user the priority to purchase any newly launched product in the next three years.

How MIUI themes became a profitable business

At the core of Xiaomi’s products is MIUI, an Android-based operating system – and while the user interface boasts numerous unique features, its themes have become the most popular among Xiaomi smartphone users. In fact, Xiaomi’s data shows that the top MIUI theme shopper spent around RMB 6,100 (about $936) on MIUI themes in 2016, which is enough to buy seven Redmi Note 4 smartphones in India.

Above are some popular MIUI themes in the first half of 2017

MIUI themes have grown in popularity as users look for ways to reflect their individuality, using the themes as they would a hairstyle or outfit to make a statement about who they are, just like how they would use a case or a cover.

Xiaomi launched the first version of MIUI themes in 2010 on our original smartphones. The themes were originally offered for free, as they were used to attract users who wanted personalized features on their smartphones. As MIUI users increased and the demand for personalized themes grew, we realized that only creative, high-quality themes could satisfy users and attract more consumers.

Above are some figures of the MIUI theme business in 2016

To achieve this, we had to attract more talented designers. Thus, a MIUI theme store opened in 2012 to sell themes to users. As of 2013, themes have become the third largest contributor to MIUI’s RMB 30 million monthly revenue (only after games and apps). That year, 1,800 designers uploaded a whopping 4,300 themes, creating a record-high monthly revenue of RMB 1.8 million. In 2016, the number of active designers surged to 3,876 – more than 1,104 from previous year. They also uploaded a total of 44,775 themes, which more than doubled the number of themes created in 2015.

How does Xiaomi attract designers?

Every designer receives approximately 70% of their MIUI themes’ revenue (post-tax). In 2016, the most profitable designer earned RMB 5.65 million before tax and gainsharing with Xiaomi.

We also hold occasional offline theme design competitions, offering attractive awards.

Above features an offline design competition held at a theater in Beijing

Additionally, we offer a base incentive of RMB 3,000 for certain themes at the start of the designing process so that designers won’t focus too much on sales and make truly creative MIUI themes.

Xiaomi believes in investing in our MIUI designers – if you are good, we make you better. We provide professional design tools for MIUI themes, as well as training materials to help designers improve. We highlight specialized zones in the MIUI theme store to promote the best designs, and we also recommend designs from new designers to create a competitive and fair environment for everyone.

IP is a top priority for Xiaomi, so the MIUI theme store removes themes that are suspected of infringing copyrights as they apear. We also cooperate with global game and app developers, as well as noted cartoon and movie trademark holders to co-develop themes, such as those that feature characters from the Captain America and Transformers movies.

Last year, the most profitable theme earned RMB 820,512 ($121,250). The most popular theme was downloaded 6,442,448 times.

Fast facts about MIUI theme users in 2016

  • 34.81% of MIUI theme consumers are under 24. About 30% are 25-29. About 28% are aged between 30 and 39.
  • The majority of free theme customers were born in the 1980s.
  • Those born in or after 1995 are the main customers of paid themes.
  • Which constellation spent most on MIUI themes? Libra
  • Which constellation spent least on MIUI themes? Aries
  • Which day in a week has the most visitors to MIUI theme store? Saturday
  • Peak hours for MIUI theme store visits? 8 p.m.-11 p.m.

*Currently the MIUI theme store is only available in China, but users can still get many free MIUI themes from our global MIUI ROM.

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