This is Xiaomi's impressive army of smartphones

This is Xiaomi's impressive army of smartphones
Currently one of the world's top five smartphone makers, Xiaomi didn't start by manufacturing mobile phones. Instead, its first product was MIUI, the custom Android ROM that some of you are already familiar with. For those who may not know, Xiaomi is a really young company. It will celebrate its fifth year of existence (and the fourth of selling smartphones) this summer.

How did a company founded in 2010 manage to disrupt the industry and sell more smartphones (61 million in 2014) than well-known manufacturers like LG, Sony, Motorola, and others? Well, it seems to have made it thanks to a combination of perfect timing, good leadership, and a well-rounded portfolio of handsets (usually priced significantly lower than comparable devices from the competition). Another important thing to note here is that Xiaomi started its business only after raising funds from powerful Asian investors, as well as from Qualcomm (which explains why many of the company's devices are using Qualcomm chipsets, rather than cheaper alternatives from Asian makers).

Granted, right now Xiaomi is irrelevant when it comes to very important markets like North America and Europe, and it's been often criticizes for borrowing various ideas from Apple. Nevertheless, this is a company that everyone involved in the smartphone industry should keep an eye on. It's no longer a China-only vendor, currently shipping smartphones in various other Asian countries, and planning a global expansion. This being said, we're going to take a look at how Xiaomi's smartphones have evolved since 2011, ultimately allowing it to become a force to be reckoned with. Join us below.

Xiaomi Mi 1

The Mi 1, or Mi-1, is Xiaomi's very first smartphone. It was released in China in October 2011, though pre-orders had been available since September. That year, Samsung's Galaxy S II was the Android smartphone to beat, and Xiaomi tried to do that by offering the Mi 1 at a very attractive price: about $300. Specs-wise, the Mi 1 more or less matched the Galaxy S II, offering a 4-inch display with 480 x 854 pixels, an 8 MP rear camera, dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S3 processor, and 1 GB of RAM. Xiaomi received 300,000 Mi 1 pre-orders in 3 days, which, at the time, was something noteworthy. A slightly faster variant of the Mi-1, called Xiaomi Mi-1S (featuring a 1.7 GHz S3 processor), was launched in the first half of 2012.


Xiaomi Mi 2

2012 (in August) was also when Xiaomi introduced the Mi 2. Once again, this was offered at a ~$300 starting price, while bringing specs only seen on expensive flagship handsets that year, including a 4.3-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixels, a quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, and 2 GB of RAM. The Mi 2S variant had a faster, 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 chipset.


Xiaomi Hongmi / Redmi 1

In the summer of 2013, Xiaomi announced its first non-high-end smartphone: the Hongmi. Initially costing around $130 in China, this handset offered (and still offers) a nice set of features for that price: 4.7-inch 720p display, 8 MP rear camera, 1 GB of RAM, and expandable memory. While the Hongmi is powered by a quad-core MediaTek processor, its international version, called Redmi 1S, comes with a Snapdragon 400 processor. Both variants are wildly successful.


Xiaomi Mi 3

Available in China since October 2013, the Mi 3 quickly became Xiaomi's fastest selling handset, with 200,000 units being purchased in 3 minutes since launch. The Mi 3 was Xiaomi's flagship for 2013, including features like a 5-inch 1080p display, 2 GB of RAM, 13 MP rear camera, and a 3050 mAh battery. The handset has two variants, one powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, and another one using an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor.


Xiaomi Redmi Note

For those who want an affordable 5.5-inch 720p smartphone, in March 2014 Xiaomi introduced the Redmi Note. Powered by either an octa-core MediaTek, or a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, the Redmi Note costs around $160, and is another hot seller.


Xiaomi Mi 4

The Mi 4 is, of course, the successor to the Mi 3, and it's been available in China and other Asian markets since July 2014, for prices that are hard to beat: $320 (16 GB model) and $410 (64 GB model). The Mi 4 comes with a 5-inch 1080p display, 8 MP front-facing camera, 13 MP rear camera, Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 GB of RAM, and a battery that can offer two days of normal usage.


Xiaomi Redmi 2

The Redmi 2 is an incremental upgrade over the Redmi 1, keeping the 4.7-inch 720p screen, but adding LTE connectivity, and a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor. The handset was announced in early January, and costs around $110.


Xiaomi Mi Note and Mi Note Pro

Finally, Xiaomi's latest handsets (announced two weeks ago) are the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro. They share most of their features, with some notable differences: the regular model has a 5.7-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 801 processor, and 3 GB of RAM, while the Mi Pro steps things up with a 5.7-inch Quad HD (1440 x 2560) display, 4 GB of RAM, and a 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor. Right now, only the Mi Note is available (in China), for prices starting at under $400. The Mi Note Pro should be released in March for around $530, being Xiaomi's most expensive handset to date.


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28 Comments

1. Tritinum

Posts: 471; Member since: May 06, 2014

Hope they make a phone with software keys. Would love to use it considering hardware wise they are great, can't really say the same for software.

6. wilsong17 unregistered

This company just give bad name to android.. imagine you buy a cheap Chinese brand the phone suck.. will you buy another android phone again

8. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Yes I will. One of my friend and colleague has ciomi redmi and it is better than the most other brands in the same asking price

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5623; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

True, Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony basically rely on their brand name to sell their low/mid end phones The Chinese companies and Moto are what I'd usually recommended for people looking for low/mid end phones The Chinese companies are both great for high end phones at much lower cost as well

18. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

Will do. Because people always assume that Chinese brands are cheap and suck. Thankfully you can still purchase from your own trusted non-Chinese brands that offer sub-par specs at higher asking price.

23. unwanted

Posts: 43; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

u never know build quality of these phone, they are pretty awesome and they can stand against any one in Android world

2. TimCook

Posts: 450; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

Xiaomi will be the best Android representative brand... Ahead of Samsung... As Apple brings that huge innovation and they gain ground in the high end territory... Chinese companies will gain ground in the low end teritory..

3. hateftotti

Posts: 224; Member since: May 03, 2011

That's was a nice joke bro specially the Apple part. The last Apple card was bigger screen but if you want innovation you should change your name to Mr.Shin :)

7. seven7dust unregistered

Plzz what innovation has samsung done last year , heart-rate sensor lol! nothing but gimmicks I'll take useful stuff like Apple Pay over that that any day. Apple is and has always been innovative in software/services , their hardware is more about design and simplicity. Last year we got metal Api and Swift , pretty huge for developers and will only get better this year. Samsung gave us water-proofing,faux leather ,heart rate monitors and wonky fingerprint scanners , LOL no wonder they are are hurting financially. you can fool people only so many times. Xiaomi will definitely take away marketshare from them over the next few years , I'll bet on it.

10. hateftotti

Posts: 224; Member since: May 03, 2011

Have you ever seen Note Edge?!?

11. wilsong17 unregistered

I was inspired with apple pay since google wallet have been here beside I use nfc for music stream.. can you do tag on a iPhone no wait until next year and pay 100 dollar mlre

15. vincelongman

Posts: 5623; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Both Apple and Samsung have been doing great As are many other companies E.g. for Samsung The A8 is built on TSMC and Samsung's 20 nm process The A9 is most likely to be built on Samsung's 14 nm process Samsung does have great software features, e.g. one-handed mode and multi window (one already copied by Apple, the other soon to be copied) Samsung are heavily involved in developing things like 3D NAND, DDR4, 4G LTE-A, 5G, flexible and curved displays, AMOLED, quantum dot, 802.11ad WiFi, VR

27. Dr.Hye

Posts: 95; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

You want to talk about innovation By samsung then don't learn something first Isheep samsung made the note with s pen. All of samsungs high end phones are capable of true multitasking. Let me explain that to you iPhone people who will not understand. I can have up to 4 screens active at one time on my galaxy s5. On the note 4 you can have 5 active and shrink them down to a flowting bubbles while you work on a different active screen. With my galaxy not pro tablet I can have 5 screens active either open windows like on pc computers or due split screen on a 12.2 inch display. And inch can adjust the split screen in any way and shape I please. Educate your self about samsung products first my friend. On the other hand iphone still has 2012 specs in 2014, just now moved into the big screen market and don't have standard 1080p X 1920 resolutio and iphones still can't multitask. How can you came to be a smartphone but can't multitask on 1 screen. Go back to preschool son cuz you just got schooled.

28. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

yeah, i definitely see apple at the top of the market, don't i. Apple Pay? oh please, google wallet and other better more secure services started long before. Apple don't give a damn about anyone, just themselves, they are a communist spawn. Apple, hardware innovation, don't make me laugh, i've seen low end phones with those specs. I wouldn't buy even a iPhone at £200/$400. I had an iPhone, but the communist rule they have over you was so ridiculous I sold after one month. Now i'm living the unrestricted dream with the Galaxy Note 3, with 32GB internal, and 32GB external.

21. jesse30135

Posts: 9; Member since: Sep 17, 2014

Niceeee....Samsung makes tthe best phones,and everybody talks about the galaxy s5 was a bust. Yes Samsung could have made it more premium on outside but if you have used or own a galaxy s5 that screen is beautiful.i think Samsung definitely makes the best display. But there definitely taking hint that ok,yes we need to mix things up &they definitely did. Starting with the galaxy alpha. Ive had every phone and by far the best device ive ever owned. But i like the g850f ver with the exynos 5430,thats a niceee cpu. Cant wait for the galaxy s6 to lands!!

4. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Wasn't Impressed

5. ryq24

Posts: 874; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Xiaomi have their own countrymen to thank for. Chinese consumers who cannot afford to buy an iPhone or a Samsung or other branded expensive phones and there are a million of them, bought xiaomi instead. then word got out to other countries thus making people curious about them.

9. seven7dust unregistered

Xiaomi's software overlay skin is much better than samsungs/Lgs in both features and performance , and did i mention no lag. So you pay half the amount for twice the performance , remember Apple's ad for the iPhone 3gs, Xiaomi can probably use that. twice as fast , half the price . samsung have brought this on themselves by sticking with touchwiz all these years , too much lag, people eventually figured it out. now huawei, lenovo , xiaomi, oppo , oneplus , meizu will come of their own. watchout 2015 is the year of chinese smartphones.

12. wilsong17 unregistered

What lag doesn't the phone work

13. wilsong17 unregistered

Is never going to be Chinese brand year and why cuz apple and lg already working on the latest tech.. bendable screen.. all these Chinese company do is copy.. they don't have the money like samsung or lg to bring the latest tech

20. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

Care to explain the reason of Xiaomi's skyrocketing income? Bendable screen isn't really earth-shattering anyway, this is the year of high specs, low price phone. And they Chinese brands do have money, but they prefer to put theirs to something else rather than new but gimmicky tech.

22. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

wilsong, have you own a XiaoMi phone before? If so which model? I always respect user personal opinion over what is hear say. I bought a XiaoMi RedMi Note to try out for two months before passing it over to my mom. Frankly its very good phone for the asking price. I don't mind keep using it. I pass it to mom because she don't want to carry phone more than $200. Now i back to using Galaxy Note 3 and Tab S 8.4 LTE.

24. unwanted

Posts: 43; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

all ur sucking apple, Samsung or any other brand mobiles are built by Chinese only

17. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Xiaomi made 8 phones in 5 years. Less phone than any android oems made in 1 year. And that's the reason why xiaomi successful

19. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Apple does the same thing, yet you criticize Apple all the time.

25. material

Posts: 80; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

This puts xiaomi into perspective. MIUI is what alot of Touchwiz users need.

26. wilsong17 unregistered

How many times does it get updates

29. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

XiaoMi does push updates to their user phone I have received about total of 3 updates over the period of 4 months use on the RedMi Notes. The last one did some bug fix and give user the ability to take photo and stored directly into microSD card. A feature I take for granted as a Samsung TouchWiz user. http://en.miui.com/forum-51-1.html

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