Xiaomi has officially announced its new Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus smartphones which offer a big screen experience at an affordable price. Featuring a tall 18:9 display aspect ratio, the screen takes up a larger viewing area while it maintains a compact footprint compared to a typical 16:9 display. What’s interesting is that the Redmi 5 series is very affordable with a starting price of just 799CNY (about RM493).
The Mi 5X is a rumour no more. Xiaomi has just posted a teaser image which confirms their upcoming Mi 5X smartphone that features dual-cameras at the rear.
Apart from Google (Android 7.0), Xiaomi is also rolling out its latest OS, MIUI 8, starting today. This is the global stable build for users outside of China and it is being released in stages according to phone models.
Launching alongside the Xiaomi Mi Max today is their latest iteration of MIUI. Their custom ROM not only looks more colourful than its predecessor but it gets a bunch of new features on top of performance fixes and brand new looks. Read on to find out what’s new with MIUI 8.
Android is currently the most popular mobile platform and unlike Apple, it is driven by several device manufacturers. While the underlying operating system is the same, each brand would have their own customised skin to differentiate themselves from the rest.
For the regular consumer, the custom interface adds more value and nifty features which doesn’t come stock standard. Of course, there are others that will consider pre-installed software as unnecessary bloatware, and proclaim plain vanilla is the way to go. Whichever side you pick, let’s take a look at the Chinese manufacturers.
Samsung isn’t the only company making a big announcement on 13th August. China’s uprising brand Xiaomi will be having an event of their own which focuses on the software side of things. As shown above, it will be their MIUI 7, their latest iteration of its custom ROM. It has been a year since MIUI 6 was introduced with a clean and flat interface, which looks heavily inspired by iOS 7.
The makers of cheap and good gadgets, Xiaomi, are getting ready to announce a new device in Malaysia and if the information we received is an indication, it looks like it will be the Redmi 2.
Announced in January this year, the Redmi 2 is Xiaomi’s newest entry-level smartphone. Powering the Redmi 2 is an updated 64-bit 1.2GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 410 processor with a claimed 50% improvement over the Redmi. The processor is mated to 1GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 8GB of on-board storage that can be expanded using microSD card. The main camera is still an 8MP f/2.2 shooter with 5-element lens from the previous Redmi while the front camera has been updated to a 2MP unit that is capable of shooting HD 720p videos.
The battery has been upgraded to a slightly larger 2,200mAh unit developed by Samsung. The Redmi 2 supports QuickCharge rapid charging technology that speeds up charging by 40%. Despite the bigger capacity battery, the Redmi 2 is more compact, lighter and thinner than its predecessor (133 grams/9.4mm in the Redmi 2 vs 158 grams/9.9mm in the original Redmi). Out of the box, the REdmi 2 runs on Android 4.4 with Xiaomi’s newer MIUI 6. You also get a 4.7-inch 720p HD display 4G LTE support.
There’s also an enhanced version of the Redmi 2 that brings with a 2GB of RAM and a 16GB of storage. We’re hoping Xiaomi will be bringing the enhanced version to Malaysia instead of the basic version that offers less RAM and on board memory.
In terms of pricing, the enhanced version of the Redmi 2 retails for 799 CNY or about RM465 at the current exchange rate. If you can’t wait, the Redmi 2 is already available in Malaysia through various grey importers.
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When Xiaomi announced its new entry-level Redmi 2, many are seeing it as a minor update as it comes with a similar 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. With the rise of competing low-cost offering from Honor and Meizu, Xiaomi has released a new enhanced version that comes with 2GB of RAM and a generous serving of 16GB of storage.
The rest of the specs remains unchanged with a 4.7″ HD 720p display and it runs on a newer 64-bit 1.2GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 410 processor that supports 4G LTE. It also gets an 8MP main + 2MP front camera along with a slightly bumped up 2,200mAh capacity battery.
Chinese smart phone manufacturers are usually slower than the rest when it comes to software updates. Xiaomi which is trying to expand internationally would definitely need to step up their software game if they plan to take on its bigger rivals. In an interview with Hugo Barra, who was the face of Android previously, says that upgrading to the latest Android Lollipop would be his number 1 priority from a product perspective for its global business.
As MIUI is heavily customised with its own look and feel, the challenge is to consolidate Google’s new Material Design with its own custom interface. Xiaomi’s hi-end Mi devices would be getting Android 5.0 Lollipop by Q1 2015 as an MIUI 6 update. Meanwhile its affordable Redmi series will be getting it too but they can’t give an exact timeline just yet.
The interview also shared Xiaomi’s interest in Google’s new Android One program of making affordable smart phones with stock Android OS. They definitely want to jump on board but it all depends on timing. Currently their main focus is to push 4G handsets in India and they recently launched the Redmi Note 4G over there.
Xiaomi or better known internationally as Mi has been expanding rapidly to more countries this year. To ensure a consistent experience and better sense of security for its international users, Hugo Barra has shared that Mi is migrating most of its online services outside of China.
The first phase of having its e-commerce stores hosted overseas is nearing completion with data centres located in the US and in Singapore. When it is completed by end of this month, most international users including Malaysia will experience better performance when making orders online. To speed up page loads, they also rely on Akamai’s global CDN for its static pages.
With Cloud storage and services becoming more important, Mi will be migrating its MIUI services from Beijing to Amazon AWS data centres in Oregon, USA and Singapore. This not only reduces latency but also offers faster Mi Cloud syncing up to 2X-3X faster for Malaysian users. For countries without Amazon AWS services such as India and Brazil, Mi will be investing into local data centres to cater for those markets.
Following its earlier security concerns, Hugo stresses that Mi is taking user data and security very seriously and the latest migration complies with high privacy standards as well as local data protection regulations.
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