While the buzz was all about Xiaomi’s latest flagship phablet, the Mi Note, the folks at Xiaomi Global also had some bad news for some of you who had been waiting for the Mi 4. Xiaomi Global VP Hugo Barra has confirmed that the Xiaomi Mi 4, the company’s current flagship smartphone, will not be coming officially to Malaysia.
Announced in the middle of last year, the Mi 4 was Xiaomi’s flagship smartphone which had been earmarked for an aggressive international rollout in Xiaomi’s foreign markets, including Malaysia. In China, the Mi 4 was actually available in 3G, 4G TD-LTE and 4G FDD-LTE variants, where the latter was the only LTE version compatible with international LTE bands.
The FDD-LTE Mi 4 went on sale sometime in September 2014, after which it had been expected that Xiaomi would be selling this much-anticipated device in its international markets. As it turns out, Xiaomi will not be selling the LTE-enabled Mi 4 anywhere outside of China.
The reason has a lot to do with the hardware embedded inside the Mi 4. Barra noted that the Mi 4 was designed for the Chinese market, and some of these hardware optimisations made it impossible for Xiaomi engineers to redesign the internals for an international Mi 4 variant that supports all LTE bands in the markets Xiaomi is in. He also stated that Xiaomi Global discussed at length whether to bring the 3G-only model into countries with advanced LTE penetrations such as Singapore and Malaysia, before pulling the plug on the idea.
The only other international market that will be getting the Mi 4 is India, where a launch event will be happening at the end of this month. With its low LTE penetration, Xiaomi will be selling the 3G-only model of the Mi 4. For other markets including Malaysia and Singapore, Barra says that the company will channel its efforts into the Mi Note instead, which supports all FDD-LTE bands globally.
The Mi Note will be available in Malaysia and other South East Asian markets in the second quarter of this year.