Top 4 Xiaomi Products to Transform the Way You Travel

While everyone gets excited for a relaxing vacation, no one looks forward to the most stressful aspect – travel. Utilizing innovative technologies and carefully attending to details, we have several products that can help alleviate some of the stresses and make the transition from bedroom to beach side more enjoyable.

90 Point Metal Luggage

Photo by Virginia Xu

One of the major innovated technologies on our 90 Point Metal Luggage should be its ultra-quiet 360 degree spinning wheels, specially made with silica gel and man-made elastic rubber, which is environmentally friendly and non-toxic. We carefully selected an independent China-based wheel manufacturer, known in the suitcase wheel industry for always willing to take challenges to make very demanding products. As a result, the wheels are very, very flexible. “Even a gentle breeze can make the wheels move,” as a user named “Alitaozitu” described on Xiaomi BBS. Besides, it makes little noise on smooth roads.

Photo by Virginia Xu

Another innovation comes from its design. Instead of the popular parallel groove structure of case shell and a design of vertical striped ribs, our suitcase has a large area of mirror-like surface with just a few horizontal striped ribs. That means, due to less ribs that consititue the exterior, we had to look for a sturdier and more elastic material. Though we were new to the suitcase market, we relentlessly explored ways to make innovation, as what we have done on crafting our smartphones. At last we ordered a higher labeled aluminum from Alcoa, the world’s leading aluminum provider. This aluminum provides a shock absorbing resistance and sustains color and sturdiness for a longer period of time. We were the first to use such a material and now Samsonite and Tumi also use the same material we’ve chosen, according to the product manager of our suitcase.

The luggage includes an adjustable drawbar to suit every height. We also designed a tilted surface for TSA customs locks, allowing users to easily unlock their suitcase without the extra hassle of rearranging items.

Our 90 Point Luggage also comes in Makrolon material versions sized in 20”, 24” and 28”, priced from RMB 299 to RMB 499.

Mi Power Bank

Photo by Virginia Xu

According to our statistics as far as 30 Sept 2016, we have sold over 55 million Mi Power Banks in the past three years.

Smartphones are the way we connect to our world, perhaps even more so when traveling, making battery life – or lack thereof – an important concern. The Mi Power Bank will provide the battery boost your phone needs any time, any place, and comes in three sizes: a normal size (10000mAh), a slim size (5000mAh) and a newly released super-size (20000mAh). When traveling, we recommend the normal size, as it easily fits inside any carry-on bag, or even a standard clutch purse.

Photo by Virginia Xu

Due to the dual-battery cell technology, the 10000 mAh allows for 2 full charges on the Mi Note, 3.5 full charges on the iPhone 6 and 1 full charge on an iPad Mini, the perfect amount to carry you over to your connecting flight or destination.

For the avid business traveler or family needing to charge multiple products while on the go, the Mi USB Charging Hub is a must-have. Available with either two or four ports, you won’t have to choose between charging your iPad or Power Bank.

8H Travel U-Shaped Pillow

Photo by Virginia Xu

While the market is cluttered with travel pillows, our 8H Travel U-Shaped Pillow rests above the others – unparalleled materials, including natural latex for the interior and slub cotton for the exterior, give it a pliable, breathable quality. The Travel U-Shaped Pillow can contour to any neck or waist, providing comfort in an otherwise cramped airplane seat.

The pillow comes in grey or beige and easily fits inside a standard carry-on luggage.

TS Polarized Sunglasses

 

With its classic Aviator style, our TS Polarized Sunglasses are a necessity when traveling and exploring new places.

Bearing a 20 micrometer anti-scratch coating—an innovated high technology material, lenses can automatically repair slight scratches in two seconds with a temperature between 73-77 degree Fahrenheit, and 30 seconds for temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The glasses are comprised of six layers, absorbing 99% of ultraviolet rays and protecting the sunglasses from moisture and air.

Designed with consumers’ needs in mind, we are glad to do our part to make travel less stressful and more enjoyable. Just as the design team of the 90 Point Metal Luggage said, “Design is for solving problems. Our goal is very simple – to make good products with attractive prices and to make innovation available for everyone.”

A Mi Fan’s seven-year journey with Xiaomi

Hong Jun, a Shanghai native and manager in the automotive industry, is one of Xiaomi’s first Mi Fans, better known among other fans by his MIUI forum name, SmartStar.

SmartStar, holding the phone in the center, with a group of Mi Fans.

SmartStar told us that it was the MIUI platform that nurtured the first Mi Fans and the first Xiaomi phone, Mi 1, turned hundreds of impressed customers into devoted Mi Fans.

Xiaomi gave 100 engineering models of Mi 1 to its earliest Mi Fans. SmartStar had device number 011.

The number of Mi Fans has increased exponentially over the years and now not only encompasses engineers but also tech fanatics, designers and general consumers who are interested in cutting-edge products.

According to Lewis Ling, Community Management Lead at Xiaomi Global, there are four large forums for Mi Fans throughout the year. There are two nationwide activities, a mid-year event called “Mi Pop” and another gathering at the end of the year. China also has a MIUI Club and Campus Club for its fan base.

There are also city-level Mi Fan gatherings, which take place once a month. They are either product review events after major launches before the first sale of new products, or short tours to interesting places nearby, bringing Mi Fans closer together.

“Every true Mi Fan has made his or her own contribution to every single Xiaomi product. Xiaomi only spent one year evolving from the Mi MIX to the Mi MIX 2 and I believe Mi Fans’ feedback and suggestions played a very important role,” said SmartStar.

Mi Fans can also directly communicate with our high-ranking executives. For example, Alee, who co-founded Xiaomi in 2010 and previously led MIUI and now leads the marketing team, used to spend one or two hours every day on the MIUI Forum to chat with Mi Fans about their problems and suggestions.

SmartStar’s Story

SmartStar recalled that he met Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s founder and CEO at the company’s first launch event of Mi 1 in August 2011. “I was helping organize a rehearsal with other Mi Fans, and it happened that Lei Jun was taking a break nearby. I sat beside him and we chatted for a long time,” he said.

“He didn’t look like a business man, but more like an engineer. This was my first impression of him. Especially, Mi 1’s price was just half of its counterparts, making me believe that he just purely wanted to make a good phone. He is always as passionate as an enthusiast. I truly admire him,” SmartStar said .

During the product launch, Xiaomi gave SmartStar a tailor-made case portraying his family, including his one-year-old daughter.

Now seven years have passed. “Her childhood was accompanied by the Mi Bunny toys and witnessed by Mi Fans and the first Xiaomi people.”

SmartStar is an expert in a technology company in the automotive industry. He said he learnt a lot from Xiaomi’s business model. For example, motivating users by catering to their real needs, as well as encouraging users to come up with their innovative ideas.

“I think it’s almost impossible for an Internet automotive company to manufacture cars, but it’s plausible for an Internet automotive company to develop in-car apps,” said SmartStar.

His company organizes fan activities from time to time, such as reviews of in-car products and apps, or test-drives of electric cars.

“I hope one day MIUI can be the bridge between Xiaomi and smart car products or apps. MIUI is the reason that attracted the earliest Mi Fans, now it can be the hub for a smarter and better life.”

“You don’t have to pay much for a good life. Technology makes your life easier and happier,” SmartStar said.

Q&A

1.Which Xiaomi smartphones have you used?

The first engineering model of Mi 1, Mi 1 (final retail), Mi 2’s engineering model and Mi 2 (final retail), Mi 3 and Mi 4 for my family, Mi Note and Mi 5.

2.What Xiaomi products do you use at home?

I have a Mi Smart Home Kit which includes smart sensors for windows and doors. They can automatically turn on the light, and start household appliances remotely.

I also have other Mi Ecosystem products including Mi Robot Vacuum which automatically cleans my home every two days. Once connected to a Xiaomi smartphone, I can monitor my Mi Water Purifier remotely and receive a notification when any of its four purifier filters is expired. I can also remotely turn on or off my Mi Kettle and set water temperature, so that my daughter can always drink warm water.

I even use Xiaomi’s consumer products like toothbrush, towel and sports shoes.

Now I’ve developed a habit that whenever I want to buy any smart device or consumer product, I will check on Mi.com first to see if Xiaomi has this particular product on sale.

The making of Mi MIX: How the Philippe Starck collaboration was born

This September, Philippe Starck took the stage in Beijing for the launch of Mi MIX 2, the stunning full screen display smartphone. Starck joined forces with Xiaomi last year to revolutionize the smartphone industry with the original Mi MIX, the world’s first full screen display phone. But, the road to the renowned designer’s connection to us dates back to the end of 2014, when several Xiaomi products won a series of design awards. Starck was impressed that a brand from China – a country criticized at the time for lacking strong industrial designs – created such simple, neat, and impressive works.

In the spring of 2015, Starck was introduced by his friend to Xiaomi and experienced several products. He felt there was a common understanding with us on the design philosophy in terms of democratization for elegant and high technological designs.

How Mi MIX 1 started

With our founder and CEO Lei Jun‘s commission, Liu De, our vice president who leads Mi Ecosystem went to Spain in August 2015 to meet with Starck and showed him the Ceramic Edition Mi 5 Pro. Starck believed the device was a world-class product, and a manifestation of a shared vision: the simpler the design is, the more important the material.

Given the mindshare, Liu De let Starck in on the company’s plan to launch an all-new concept phone product line, which would become our most important project, to date, emphasizing the desire to create a product for which mass production was not a priority, and could simply focus on the possible forms of future phones.

By the end of the meeting, Starck accepted our invitation to lead the design of the project – taking a leap of faith to design a phone for the first time.

It took Starck only three days to develop the first design, followed by a year of fleshing out the ambitious concept.

Led by Starck, our engineers created a series of mockups and models, and frequently flew to France and Portugal for working sessions with Starck. Lei Jun also immersed himself in the manufacturing process and worked directly with engineers to solve structural and engineering challenges.

Mi MIX 1 had its pilot production in February 2016, which incorporated leading-edge features such as doing away with the earpiece speaker and the proximity sensor with piezoelectric ceramic technology and ultrasonic technology.

By August 2016, we finalized the design of Mi MIX 1. On October 26, we officially unveiled Mi MIX 1.

How Mi MIX 2 started

In November that year, the Mi MIX 2 project was officially started. Starck and Our ID, product and engineering teams had frequent and fast communication, from which they cleared the aspects to improve on Mi MIX 2, including:

  • Change the aspect ratio from 17:9 to 18:9, so that the on-screen content can take centerstage and is more pure, as well as more immersive.
  • Re-enable the diaphragm handset for a better call experience.
  • While keeping the high aspect ratio, slightly narrow the phone body so it can be thinner and have better handfeel.
  • Adhere to the ceramic material and apply a more integrated ceramic unibody design.

“We created the Unibody ceramic Mix 2 because the concept of full monolith fits with idea of fullness, completeness, and simpleness of the ancient China philosophy and the values of the next world. We tried to reach through the unibody a type of serenity. The purity of design of a ceramic unibody gives us the feeling of smooth perfection of jade, a quiet pure jade.” Ph.S

In less than two months, Starck proposed and updated more than a dozen ideas. Our engineering team began building a structure based on the design process and selection. All of our teams met in France and Portugal several times to discuss with Starck about the forward-looking technical solutions.

Then Starck came to Beijing on February 15 to meet Lei Jun and our teams to discuss the design and structure, technology and other issues.

The engineering model of the P0 version of Mi MIX 2 finally succeeded after months of experiments amidst the huge technological challenge of creating a ceramic unibody.

In early May 2017, Starck received the P1 prototype of the first Mi MIX 2.

“Looks like an evolution but it is a revolution. Revolution is the addition of powerful evolution.” Ph.S

“When Lei Jun introduced me the powerful performance of Mi MIX 2, I had the strong feeling that Lei Jun had just gave me the key, the possibility to create the ultimate best for all of us, for all the world.” Ph.S

In August 2017, Mi MIX won the IDEA Gold Award.

On September 11, Starck came to Beijing to attend the launch event of Mi MIX 2, which once again stunned the world.

“Because it’s fantastic, we cannot make better today. It’s done, we cannot go more forward now. It’s ultimate but so challenging to create the next revolution.” Ph.S

【News】Xiaomi unveils Mi MIX 2, a stunning evolution of its full-screen display smartphone

Also announces Mi Note 3 and Mi Notebook Pro

BEIJING, 11 September 2017 — Global technology leader Xiaomi announced Mi MIX 2 today, a gorgeous evolution of Mi MIX, the revolutionary concept phone unveiled a year ago. In addition to raising the bar for its innovative MIX series, Xiaomi also upped the ante in two other product lines — it announced Mi Note 3, which sports a dual-camera setup and a 16-megapixel front camera, and upgraded its line of laptops with the new Mi Notebook Pro.

Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, said: “Mi MIX gave everyone a glimpse of what the phone of the future would look like. We made a concept phone that defied everyone’s expectations about smartphone design, and it has pioneered the trend of full screen display smartphones. With Mi MIX 2, the future is now here. It has evolved from a design and technology test-bed into a user-friendly phone catered to a wider consumer group than ever before, while still evoking the wow factor.”

Mi MIX 2 once again underscores Xiaomi’s commitment to being at the forefront of technological innovation while making these innovations affordable to the widest possible range of consumers. Starting from RMB 3299, Mi MIX 2 will be available in China from 15 September onwards and will make its way to selected global markets at a later date.

Full screen display 2.0

Introduced as a concept device last October, Mi MIX delivered an unprecedented screen-to-body ratio that heralded a turning point in the design of smartphones. Mi MIX redefined the smartphone user experience as the first Android-based device with a 17:9 aspect ratio high-definition screen and rounded display corners, which helped pave the way for Google’s Android CDD (Compatibility Definition Document) eventually allowing screen aspect ratios beyond 16:9, as well as rounded display corners.

Mi MIX 2 builds on the foundation of the original concept. It is now 11.9% smaller than Mi MIX, and has a 5.99-inch screen with a 18:9 full screen display, which delivers a stunning appearance with the screen almost entirely filling up the front surface.

Instead of the piezoelectric speaker solution in Mi MIX, the second-generation uses a hidden speaker that only takes up a thin sliver of space between the top edge of the phone and the screen. At the same time, the front camera remains at the chin and Mi MIX 2 continues using the ultrasonic proximity sensor. This allows the device itself with all the components to fade into the background, while the focus is entirely on the screen.

Pushing the boundaries of smartphone design with ceramic

Jointly designed with world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, Mi MIX 2 represents Xiaomi’s efforts in pushing ahead with the use of ceramic. It has a beautiful ceramic back, which features a four-sided curved design that transitions smoothly into the aluminum frame.

Also announced today was Mi MIX 2 Special Edition, which has a ceramic unibody — a first for any smartphone. Looking incredibly premium with the glossy jade-like finish, the ceramic unibody on Mi MIX 2 Special Edition takes an arduous 7-day process to manufacture, as even polishing the surface requires the use of diamond powder because ceramic is incredibly hard.

A truly global smartphone

With 43 network bands in total, Mi MIX 2 is a truly global smartphone that can be used almost anywhere in the world, perfect for travelers who may frequent places with different networks, such as the U.S.

Mi MIX 2 delivers the ultimate high-performance experience, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and up to 8GB RAM. It also uses the latest Sony IMX386 sensor in its 12-megapixel camera, and comes with 4-axis OIS that reduces the effect of handshake or motion, so images and videos remain sharp.

Mi MIX 2 will be available in 6GB + 64GB, 6GB + 128GB and 6GB + 256GB versions, priced at RMB 3299/3599/3999 respectively. Mi MIX 2 Special Edition, which comes with a ceramic unibody in either white or black, comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for RMB 4699.

Mi Note 3: Xiaomi’s best camera smartphone yet

With a dual-camera setup and a 16-megapixel front camera, Mi Note 3 is a larger version of Xiaomi’s popular flagship Mi 6 launched earlier this year. It has a 5.5-inch display and a larger 3500mAh battery.

The dual camera setup with wide angle and telephoto lenses gives users the ability to shoot beautiful portraits with out-of-focus backgrounds. The front camera captures light better with less image noise thanks to large 2μm pixels, achieved by combining multiple pixels on the image sensor into one. The Beautify feature gets an upgrade in Mi Note 3 with an AI algorithm for more natural selfies. Mi Note 3 also has a new unlocking method through AI-based facial recognition, so unlocking the phone is just like taking a selfie.

Mi Note 3 will be available in China starting 12 September priced from RMB 2499 onwards.

Mi Notebook Pro: High-performance professional laptop

Xiaomi also announced today a new high-performance professional laptop Mi Notebook Pro, equipped with the latest eighth-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics, which delivers a smooth gaming experience with stunning visuals. Mi Notebook Pro has a total of three configurations: i7 + 16 GB + 256GB, i7 + 8 GB + 256GB and i5 + 8 GB + 256GB, respectively, priced at RMB 6999/6399/5599.

The 15.6-inch Mi Notebook Pro comes with a full-HD screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, and a fingerprint sensor integrated into the touchpad for easy unlocking of the laptop. Coupled with a 256GB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive (SSD), Mi Notebook Pro powers through demanding tasks effortlessly. On top of that, Mi Notebook Pro has one free SATA SSD slot that gives users an option to expand its storage. It runs on the Chinese version of the Windows 10 operating system and users get full licensed copies of Microsoft Office and Kingsoft’s WPS Office.

17:9 and beyond: our relentless exploration of the full screen display

Xiaomi has always relentlessly pursued technological innovations. At the beginning of 2014, we noticed that while the competition in the smartphone industry had intensified, the overall design of smartphones remained stagnant.

As we sought to create a breakthrough, our engineers brainstormed on how to make a full screen display smartphone, which we believed should be the future of smartphone design — with the physical form disappearing into the background so that the on-screen content can take centerstage.

However, no one knew how difficult it would be, so we decided to make a concept model first. We invited the world-renowned designer Philippe Starck to partner with us and lead the design for Mi MIX.

This August, Mi MIX won the IDEA Gold Award for its innovative design.

“IDSA IDEA 2017 winners demonstrate how designers are able to capture what’s invisible to others and inspire beauty through the smallest of details within the simplest of artifacts,” said IDEA 2017 Jury Chair Owen Foster, IDSA. “Winners go beyond the tangible that we are so accustomed to seeing—to cultivate amazing, holistic ecosystems.”

From 16:9 to 17:9

The aspect ratio refers the ratio of the width to the height of an image or screen. Mi MIX was the first Android-based device that used a screen with a 17:9 aspect ratio and rounded display corners, which at the time, didn’t comply with Google’s Android CDD (Compatibility Definition Document). The document explicitly stated that Android phones should have an aspect ratio between 4:3 and 16:9.

We engaged Google in a discussion on this and finally received  Google’s permission to allow the 17:9 aspect ratio, which we truly felt gives a stronger visual impact and better user experience. Here’s a timeline to summarize what happened:

  • At the beginning of 2016, Xiaomi engaged Google in a discussion on the screen aspect ratio as we built Mi MIX with a 17:9 aspect ratio.
  • On July 1, 2016, our engineers emailed Google asking whether Mi MIX can pass the compatibility test or if its 17:9 aspect ratio could be treated as a special case.
  • On July 22, 2016, we got an official reply from Google saying that the 17:9 aspect ratio did not comply with Google’s Android CDD.
  • August 2016 was the most difficult time of the R&D process, when the team was weighing whether they should press on or give up on this project. However, they strongly believed that as an innovative smartphone company, Xiaomi should push the boundaries and delivering a stunning full screen display experience could only be achieved through a 17:9 aspect ratio. So they decided to continue communicating with Google.
  • In September 2016, our colleagues from the global team went to Google’s Mountain View headquarters in the U.S. to explain the concept of Mi MIX and its innovative technologies in detail and Google verbally agreed.
  • On October 25, 2016, we successfully launched our full screen display concept smartphone, Mi MIX, and it wowed people by giving them a glimpse of the phone of the future.
  • On November 8, 2016, Google officially approved the 17:9 aspect ratio by changing its CDD to allow screen aspect ratios beyond 16:9, as well as rounded display corners, which also paved the way for other smartphone companies to follow suit.

Besides the 17:9 aspect ratio, Mi MIX also incorporated cutting-edge technologies that did away with the physical earpiece speaker and proximity sensor.

Now we are unveiling the second generation of Mi MIX and bringing it above and beyond the concept phone. The Mi MIX product line is where much of our effort to pursue cutting-edge innovations is concentrated, and it arguably pioneered the trend of full screen display smartphones being launched around the world now. It has established a new bar for smartphone innovation and Mi MIX 2 will now bring all of this innovation to an even wider consumer group.

Why we curated these Xiaomi apps on Mi A1, an Android One phone

Today we announced the  Mi A1 in collaboration with Google, the first Xiaomi device to run on the evolved Android One program.

As an Android One smartphone, Mi A1 comes with a software experience designed by Google, offering users a streamlined and secure Android phone that stays current over time with OS upgrades. It also comes with the most popular Google services built-in, such as free, unlimited high quality storage from Google Photos.

At the same time, we carefully curated four Xiaomi apps on Mi A1. Why did we choose these four apps?

Mi Camera app

At the beginning of our partnership with Google, we selected a model with flagship-level features that would showcase Xiaomi’s philosophy — bringing innovation to everyone. Mi A1 incorporates a dual-camera configuration similar to that in Mi 6, our latest flagship device, with wide angle and telephoto lenses for added effect.

The Xiaomi camera app on Mi A1 provides a full dual-camera experience. The two lenses allow Mi A1 to calculate what is in the foreground and what is in the background, creating a depth-of-field effect called “bokeh” that typically requires a DSLR lens to achieve, allowing the user to create beautiful photos that really make the subject stand out.

But there is one major difference between the Mi A1 and Mi 6. On Mi A1, all the photos will be stored in Google Photos and include free unlimited high quality storage. 

Mi Remote app

Before introducing this app, here are some fast facts.

  •  Xiaomi is much more than a smartphone company. We also make consumer electronics and that’s where our Mi Ecosystem strategy comes into play.
  •  Xiaomi is able to offer a wide array of smart home products, by investing and incubating in 89 companies so far.
  • Xiaomi has become the world’s largest smart hardware platform. There are over 60 million connected devices to Mi Ecosystem’s IoT platform.

Mi Remote exists within Xiaomi’s array of Mi Ecosystem products, an assortment of smart home gadgets geared toward consumers. Mi A1 includes an IR blaster, which, when paired with the Mi Remote app, can easily control many Xiaomi products around the house. Mi Remote also supports hundreds of other home appliances, acting as a universal remote in the palm of your hand.

Just open the app and point it at a TV or any other appliance that uses an IR remote, and follow the instructions on the app to pair. Once paired successfully, you can use Mi Remote to turn your TV on, control the volume, change channels, and if you’re using a Mi TV, even control the on-screen menu.

Mi Store app

The Mi Store app will be curated on Mi A1 devices in India, Hong Kong and Taiwan. This app enables users to search, browse and buy Xiaomi hardware products, including smartphones and Mi Ecosystem products, depending on availability per region. It supports multiple payment options and can track your order delivery status. 

In fact, in India, our Mi Store app is the #1 free shopping app on Google Play. It has over 20 million installs and over 100 million visits every month as per August 2017.

Feedback app

From the day Xiaomi came into existence, we’ve been all about listening to our users. Our Mi Fans play a large role in the products we make and are a key pillar in the philosophy of our company. To make it easier for fans to connect with us, we created the Feedback app. Whether you have an idea about how to make an app better, faced a bug, or just want to leave a comment, the Feedback app is the easiest way to get in touch.

We wouldn’t be where we are without our fans and their generosity in communicating with us, and it’s no exception with Mi A1.

【News】Xiaomi Launches Mi A1 with Google in Major Next Step for Android One

Mi A1 touted as a fresh take on Google’s Android One program, featuring a flagship dual camera setup and a premium design

NEW DELHI, India, 5 September 2017 — Global technology leader Xiaomi today announced Mi A1 in collaboration with Google, the first device to run on the evolved Android One program.

Mi A1 runs on stock Android to offer a high-quality software experience designed by Google, underscoring Xiaomi’s commitment to providing more choices for users. Priced from INR 14,999 in India, Mi A1 is a beautifully-designed device that combines hardware innovations, including an optical zoom dual camera setup, with great Google-designed software.

At a launch event in New Delhi, India, it was announced that Mi A1 would be available in India and also in more than 40 markets around the world including Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, Poland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Mexico. Local pricing in these markets will be available at a later date.

Xiaomi Senior Vice President Wang Xiang said: “Mi A1 is a strategic device in our global expansion, marking a milestone on our quest to bring innovation to everyone. From the beginning Xiaomi has been all about choice, and we are delighted to offer users a new way to experience the power of Xiaomi.”

Wang noted that this is a logical extension of Xiaomi’s long and fruitful partnership with Google. “Google has been a great partner, and given our strong collaboration, we thought their idea to launch a Xiaomi smartphone on Android One would be a great opportunity to give our users a different user experience. I’m truly excited about what this partnership will bring to our users across the world!”

“By taking this next step with Android One, we are excited to be working with partners around the world to bring high quality Android device experiences to more consumers,” said Jamie Rosenberg, Google’s VP of Business & Operations, Android & Google Play. “Mi A1 marries excellence in device design with a simple and pure Android experience, the best of Google built in, and a commitment to future software and security updates. We’re thrilled to welcome Xiaomi and the Mi A1 to the Android One family.”

Dual camera with optical zoom for more beautiful portrait shots

Mi A1 incorporates a dual camera configuration similar to that in Mi 6, Xiaomi’s latest flagship device, with wide angle and telephoto lenses used to incredible effect.

The two lenses allow Mi A1 to calculate what is in the foreground and what is in the background, creating a depth-of-field effect that typically requires a DSLR lens to achieve, allowing the user to create photos of unparalleled clarity and color. In addition, an improved Beautify mode that makes selfies look more natural, now works with the both the front 5MP camera as well as the 12MP dual rear camera. Mi A1 supports 2x optical zoom, which makes photos of distant subjects remain clear, while 10x digital zoom is also supported.

Created by Xiaomi, powered by Google

Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s first Android One phone, with a software experience designed by Google, offering users a simple, pure Android phone that stays fresh over time with OS upgrades.

As an Android One smartphone, Mi A1 comes with the most popular Google services built-in as default, such as free unlimited high quality storage from Google Photos.

Top-of-the-line specifications in a beautiful design

Available in Black, Gold and Rose Gold, Mi A1 has an attractive full-metal body design that measures just 7.3mm in thickness, with discreet separation lines for a seamless look and rounded edges for great hand feel. It also comes with a rear fingerprint sensor.

Featuring a 5.5-inch 2.5D curved glass screen featuring Corning® Gorilla® Glass protection, Mi A1 also boasts a 10v power amplifier for deeper lows and higher volumes, ensuring it provides an immersive media experience. A dedicated amplifier also provides support for high-impedance headphones (up to 600 ohms).

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor based on the 14nm manufacturing process, as well as a 3080mAh battery, Mi A1 provides users with a smooth experience that lasts all day.

With 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, Mi A1 will be available in India starting 12 September via Mi.com and Mi Home stores, as well as a number of other partner sites and retail channels.

Key features of Mi A1:

  • Premium full-metal body
  • Dual camera, optical zoom:
    • 12MP wide angle + 12MP telephoto
    • Exceptional portrait photography with background blur
    • Beautify, for natural selfie enhancements
    • 5MP front camera
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625 with 14nm FinFET technology (Octa-core 2.0GHz)
  • 4GB RAM + 64GB internal storage
  • Up to 128GB microSD expandable storage
  • 5-inch full-HD Corning® Gorilla® Glass display
  • 3080mAh battery, USB Type-C port
  • Rear fingerprint sensor
  • IR blaster, with Mi Remote App
  • Dual SIM (3-choose-2 hybrid SIM tray)
  • Dimensions: 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3mm
  • Weight: 165g
  • Available in Black, Gold and Rose Gold
  • Stock Android

The bokeh effect: pro photographers’ take on dual-lens cameras

The word “bokeh” stems from the Japanese word meaning blur. In photography, it can be simply understood as background blur.

In the past, only DSLR cameras and delicate cameras could produce this effect. However, some say, a phone’s dual-lens camera is the future of mobile technology.

There are two mainstream dual-camera setups. One is RGB and monochrome. In this setup, one lens takes color photos with true and vivid color, and the other captures in black and white with rich detail and sharpness.

We have chosen another dual-camera setup on our Mi 6 and Mi 5X — a wide angle camera and a telephoto camera. Working simultaneously with a deep learning algorithm, the dual cameras can blur the background and make the main object appear clearer. With our camera, we have chosen a 52mm portrait lens on Mi 6 and a 50mm portrait lens on Mi 5X.

Take a look at some photos shot on the Mi 6 and Mi 5X dual cameras.

It’s still an open question whether dual-camera setups can produce the same “bokeh” as DSLR cameras, but at least one thing is certain, mobile phones are much more convenient to carry and much easier to use than DSLR cameras, and their photos are good enough for non-professionals to record everyday life and share to social media platforms.

We had a chat with some famous photographers about dual-lens cameras and whether their “bokeh” effects can parallel with DSLR cameras. The following are excerpts from our chats:

Song Xiaogang, chief photographer at South China Morning Post

“I think dual cameras’ bokeh is different from that of DSLR cameras, and the latter can more accurately blur backgrounds. However, mobile phones are compact and portable, and dual-lens cameras’ bokeh effects are enough for non-professional people to share on social media platforms.

Shot in the East 44th Hutong, Beijing, 16 July, 2017.  Shot on a smartphone. Photo by Song Xiaogang.

Wang Jing, chief photographer at China Daily, IPA (International Photography Awards) Deeper Perspective Photographer of 2014

“Dual cameras mark a new era of mobile photography. The bokeh effect on a dual-camera setup can parallel that of a DSLR camera if properly used.”

Military officers and people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) gather at the Kim Il-sung Gymnasium in Pyongyang, on April 14, 2012, before a meeting to mark the centenary of the birth of the country’s former leader Kim Il-sung. Photo by Wang Jing

Jason Lee, senior photographer at Reuters since 2005  

“To me, mobile cameras still have a big gap from DSLR cameras. The resolution is okay on a smartphone screen, but not on a computer screen. For professional photographers, DSLR cameras are still very important.”

A firefighter is taking a short break by the highway on the second morning of the powerful explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin, 13 August, 2015. This is an original photo taken on a smartphone. It went viral and was re-shared over 10,000 times. Photo by Jason Lee

Aaron Ma, chief photographer at Sohu.com

“When the natural light is sufficient, the dual-camera’s bokeh is very good. When the light is poor, the image quality is compromised. In terms of pixels, mobile phones are hard to compare with DSLR cameras. Even so, I think mobile phones are enough for everyday use if you just want to take a record of memorable moments and share to social media platforms.

Gao Yuanyuan, a famous Chinese actress. Photo by Aaron Ma 

Jia Dai Teng Fei, chief photographer at Oriental Morning Post, member of WPP (World Press Photo) Master Class in 2012

“A mobile phone’s digital technologies can simulate traditional aperture and focal length and calculate which place on a photo should be blurred and where to be clear. I feel that dual-camera setup’s bokeh is enough for non-professionals, but as a professional photographer, I still rely on a DSLR camera. But the technology is developing very fast, so it’s likely that mobile technology will be good enough to replace DSLR cameras one day.”

Cao Xiuhu, 85, an aidman during the Korean War. Photo by Jia Dai Teng Fei

Why we made only 100 units of the Mercury Silver Mi 6

In a recent blog post we revealed that only 100 units of the Mercury Silver Mi 6 will be available on Mi.com in China. The Mercury Silver Mi 6 is extremely difficult to produce and is an outcome of Xiaomi’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of materials technology.

This video is an interview with Anthony Howe, the design consultant for the Mercury Silver Mi 6. Anthony is good at using metals and shaping them into artistic pieces. For him, the Mercury Silver Mi 6 was “almost an impossible task”. However, Xiaomi made the idea come true.

Let’s take a deeper dive into this one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

Two different techniques

There are two methods to make silver mirror-like surfaces. One is film coating, which is used by other big smartphone makers. This method can be simply understood as pasting a special, light sensitive film to the back of the transparent glass cap that produces a silvering mirror-like effect.

The other method, PVD electroplating, is what the Mercury Silver Mi 6 adopts. It is a special electroplating method in an entirely vacuumed environment. Simply put, this method is time intensive and technically challenging, but the results are worth the wait.

Compared to electroplating, the film coating technique results in higher yield rates and does not require vacuum surroundings, so it can easily apply to mass production. So why do we insist on using a more time intensive and difficult method with limited production capacity? Because through this technique we’re able to produce a one-of-a-kind unit that has a better mirror-like surface, making the device completely smooth and bright.

Three elements of PVD electroplating

As noted, the first key element is an entirely vacuumed environment. Even a single speck of dust will ruin the whole glass batch. Since the body of a smartphone can’t be accomplished at a single plant, we have to make sure that the whole transportation process is dust-free.

The second part of the process is to make sure that the whole mirror surface has unified color and luster. The electroplating process applies hundreds of millions of very tiny silver particles evenly on the interior of glass in a vacuum environment.

One particle is 0.34 nm, and to give you an idea of how small that is, 1 nm is about one 60,000th of the diameter of a single hair strand. And to achieve perfect coating effect, one layer is not enough. That means this time intensive process has to be repeated for several times, and we do it eight times!

Lastly, perfection must be achieved on the inside as well as the outside. We wanted to use a unique material that would deliver the mercury silver effect, yet didn’t shield the phone signal. We tested a wide variety of materials to achieve the effect we wanted and found one that is extremely unique, but we are keeping this material top-secret! Very James Bond-like, right?

The Mercury Silver Mi 6 truly embodies the relentless exploring spirit of Xiaomi. Recently, we gifted the Mercury Silver Mi 6 to four significant people who embody this same spirit. The recipients include Franky Zapata, the inventor of Flyboard, the jet-powered hover board; Alan Stern, the principal investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto; David Reitze, Director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment at the University of Florida; Buzz Aldrin, a former astronaut on Apollo 11 and one of the first two humans to land on the Moon.

We salute these leaders with the Mercury Silver Mi 6 in a shared spirit of love for innovation and exploration!

【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 Dark Gray, 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.