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.