Xiaomi’s annual product launch event will be held in Beijing next Tuesday, where the company is expected to announce a host of new devices for the year. The most anticipated among these would be Xiaomi’s latest flagship smartphone, which may be called the Mi 4. With just a few days to go before the official announcement, the rumour mills have already gone into overdrive.
Here’s what to expect at next week’s Xiaomi event.
1) The Mi 4 Will Feature a Body Made From Metal and High-End Hardware.
Since the July 22 poster was released, there’s been a lot of talk about the how the Mi 4 will look like. Specifically, if it will be encased in a sexy metal body. The first impressions are that this is very likely to happen, especially given the description included with the poster:
The journey of a piece of steel metal.
Not only that, the invites sent out to Chinese media and Mi Fans alike again hint of a metal-clad smartphone. Finally, the existence of a metal smartphone is all but confirmed by Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun, who shared an image of the invite on his Weibo account with the following description:
Austenitic 304 stainless steel, strong anti-rust, corrosion resistance, have excellent plasticity and toughness, easy stamping.
– Lei Jun (translated via Google)
The company has already made a name for itself as a manufacturer of quality products; the Mi 3 in particular stood out from the competition in China for its magnesium-aluminium frame and graphite body – a far cry from the sea of glossy plastic smartphones currently available at the time.
So…what about those purportedly leaked front panel that we saw some weeks back? They certainly look more plastic than metal, and look nowhere near as good as the Mi 3. It could be that this “leaked” image shows a testing unit of the Mi 4, which is a common practice among companies to reduce cost. Hence, it must also be said that this image for the Xiaomi Mi 4 listing on Oppomart is very likely a placeholder.
To be honest, it is really difficult to find a credible leak of the Mi 4, both in its hardware and external design – and that’s a credit to Xiaomi at a time when companies are making clones of unannounced devices merely from mockups. The rumoured specs list of the Mi 4 are both feasible and a wish list at the same time. Some say that the Mi 4 will pack a Snapdragon 801; others believe it to be a Snapdragon 805. One party would claim that it will feature a 16MP camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS), another would say there’ll just be a 13MP sensor. A more reliable rumour comes from The Next Web, which lists the (rumoured) specs list of the Mi 4 as follows:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- 13MP rear camera
- 8MP front camera
- Retail price: 1999 Yuan (about RM1025)
The product listing for the Xiaomi Mi 4 at Chinese e-commerce site Oppomart
2) Xiaomi Will Introduce MIUI V6, Based on Android 4.4 KitKat.
It’s been long overdue, but it is likely that Xiaomi will also officially announce the next iteration of its hugely popular Android ROM, MIUI V6. The current V5 build is based on Android 4.2 on the Redmi devices and Android 4.3 on the Mi 3, and the company has been said to be testing a MIUI build based on Android 4.4 KitKat for some time now.
The CCC listing for the refreshed Redmi with LTE connectivity also confirms the existence of a MIUI build based on Android 4.4.2, while this professional-looking product listing for the Mi 4 also makes reference of MIUI V6, featuring “an enhanced home screen”.
On top of that, at the end of May, co-founder Lei Jun also mentioned that “We (Xiaomi) are moving forward with a big step compared with MIUI V5,” hinting of a possible tweak in the visuals of MIUI.
3) The Mi 4 May Not be Called the Mi 4.
Given the widely-known distaste for the number “4” in Chinese culture, it could also be that Xiaomi may decide not to name this year’s flagship as the Mi 4. Sure, the product launch event has a huge “4” emblazoned all over it, but what if it is indicating something other than the name of its flagship – such as the number of products that will be announced?
In the past, Xiaomi has also resorted to a naming convention where a refreshed edition has an “S” appended to the model name. We’ve seen this on the Redmi 1S, as well as the older Mi 2S flagship. To date, Xiaomi has not yet unveiled a “Mi 3S”.
Then again, the “4” could also be mark the fourth anniversary of Xiaomi; the company was founded on April 6, 2010.
4) Xiaomi Will Announce More than Just the Mi 4.
There has been rumours everywhere about the Mi 4, but there has not been a single sighting of the Mi 4 at China’s CCC database (the Chinese equivalent to the Malaysian SIRIM and USA’s FCC). What have appeared are the LTE variants of the Redmi and Redmi Note, less than two weeks ago. It had been mentioned before that Xiaomi will be focusing on delivering LTE-enabled smartphones moving forward, and Xiaomi may start with the Redmi devices first.
The CCC listing also shows the LTE Redmi will be powered by a 1.3GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage and more importantly, run on Android 4.4.2. This means that rumours of a MIUI V6 will be introduced with Xiaomi’s 2014 smartphones are one step closer to the truth.
Xiaomi’s event next week will also be the first since its venture into international markets, so it will be interesting to see its strategy moving forward. The introduction of LTE devices that is compatible with international LTE networks is a strong indicator that the company is looking past the comforts of its home market to be a major player in this region; it has already garnered a huge following in Singapore and Malaysia, while it has just announced its arrival in India and soon, the Philippines.
Nevertheless, next Tuesday will be a very fascinating day both for the Chinese smartphone market and beyond. Xiaomi has huge ambitions, and its product launch next week will be an indicator of how capable it is in achieving them in the near future.