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

【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.