Xiaomi's next flagship phone, the Mi 9
, is expected to be unveiled later this month. Today, photos of a phone that allegedly is the Mi 9
, appeared on a Weibo site
belonging to Xiaomi product manager Wang Teng Thomas (via SlashLeaks
). The images were later removed, although others captured the photos. Both pictures only reveal the back of the handset, but it still provided us with some important information.
The photograph does make it appear that the rumors about a triple camera setup on the Mi 9 are accurate. Based on the images, the cameras are vertically mounted, just like the dual camera setup was on 2018's flagship, the Xiaomi Mi 8
. The difference though, is that the LED flash now is outside the camera housing. Last year's model had the flash inside the housing.
One of the camera sensors on back is believed to be Sony's IMX586 48MP sensor. The other two cameras on back are rumored to include a 12MP secondary snapper, and a 3D Time-of-Flight depth sensor. In front, we should see a Sony IMX576 24MP sensor. The Mi 9 will reportedly be equipped with a 6.4-inch AMOLED display carrying a 1080 x 2220 FHD+ resolution, and Qualcomm's latest and greatest Mobile Platform, the Snapdragon 855, will be under the hood.
We could see variants of the Mi 9 with 6GB of RAM/128GB storage and 8GB RAM/256GB storage. A 3500mAh battery is expected to keep the lights on, and the phone could come with a faster quick charging system. There also will be a premium Explorer Edition, according to Xiaomi president Lin Bin. This model will contain features not found on the regular Mi 9 units and possibly a transparent back. Android 9 Pie will be pre-installed along with the firm's MIUI interface.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 screen could have a much larger active area for its in-display fingerprint scanner
The leaked photos also show the lack of a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone that is supposedly the Mi 9. That means that we could see an in-display fingerprint scanner on Xiaomi's next flagship. The manufacturer has already offered this feature on the Mi 8
Explorer Edition and with the Mi 8 Pro
. However, this will probably be the next generation of the biometric reader
with a active area of 50mm x 25mm. That is 5 times larger than the area on the screen that is dedicated to reading fingerprints on most handsets. The Mi 9 should also offer users the ability to open the phone using its facial recognition system.
While last year's Xiaomi Mi 8 featured an iPhone-esque notch at the top of the screen, the Mi 9 is rumored to come with a waterdrop notch. Speculation is rife that the Mi 9 will not support 5G; in lieu of of Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G
modem chip, we expect to see the chip maker's X24 4G LTE modem inside the phone.
Last month, Xiaomi announced that it was spinning its Redmi brand into a separate subsidiary. This will allow the company to focus on high-end phones for the Mi brand, which the Mi 9 is obviously part of. The Redmi branded phones will be sold over e-commerce channels only, while the Mi branded phones will be offered through online sites and in stores.
While Xiaomi's value phones have been killing it in India, and the company is expanding in Europe, we probably won't see Xiaomi's handsets make their long awaited entry into the U.S. market this year. The current environment for Chinese phone manufacturers in the states is not ideal with U.S. lawmakers calling Huawei and ZTE national security threats. While Xiaomi has never been painted with the same brush as those firms, it still might be difficult for it to find a major carrier willing to stock its phones. On the other hand, China's OnePlus was able to get its latest model on the shelves at T-Mobile.
According to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi shipped 121 million handsets last year, good enough for an 8% market share. That made the company the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in 2018.
Photo allegedly shows the Xiaomi Mi 9, set to be unveiled later this month