The Chinese are apparently crazy over smartphones. After all, this country of 1 billion mobile phone users is the biggest and fastest-growing market for mobile devices today, and so brands are eager to get their wares marketed here.
However, the Chinese are also a practical community, and here’s where bang-for-the-buck (or yuan) is considered important. Smartphone maker Xiaomi, for one, has launched its Mi-One earlier this year to rave reviews. At 1,999 yuan ($300) a pop, the Mi-One was a premium smartphone with a not-so-premium price.
Xiaomi has reportedly sold 3 million units as of June, just a bit over six months after the phone’s December 2011 mass launch – Xiaomi released its initial batch of 600 units in September that year.
With the startup launching version two on August 16, things are going to be interesting.
Firstly, the packaging itself is quite the looker. The Xiaomi 2 comes in eco-friendly packaging that can withstand 180 Kg of weight (up from the Mi-One’s 80 Kg capacity). We can assume, of course, that buyers can pry the packaging open in some way, which will reveal the new flagship MIUI phone, rumored to come with the latest Qualcomm APQ8064 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz. Sources also say that the Xiaomi Phone 2 – or will it be named the Mi-Two? – will also have a bigger screen than the original release, at 720p resolution.
Xiaomi employees, including its founder Lei Jun have been posting cryptic messages on the Sina Weibo microblog service saying “Xiaomi phonex2=816,798” this weekend. It seems this refers to August 16, with “798” being the culture- and arts-centric district near Xiaomi’s corporate headquarters.
A Xiaomi rep has confirmed that launch date will be on August 16, and that the public can buy tickets for the event for 199 yuan, or about $31.
It helps that Xiaomi was recently able to secure $216 million in funding from still-undisclosed investors. The company reports revenues of almost a billion dollars in the first half of 2012, earning $158 million monthly as of May. Xiaomi has had to sell the original Mi-One smartphone in batches due to production limitations. With its latest capital infusion, will Xiaomi be able to satisfy the interest it has drummed up with its second-generation phone?