Xiaomi has made the jump from an obscure Chinese mobile phone manufacturer to a very intriguing name for Westerners in a very short while, but that doesn’t seem to have been enough for the 2 year old company.
The dirt-cheap quad-core MI-2 smartphone will therefore stop being the only exciting Xiaomi product in just a matter of hours, when the Xiaomi Box will be released. Powered by MIUI 4, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich-based OS, the set-top box will allow you to wirelessly stream media from your phones, tablets or laptops, as well as run all kinds of Android games and other apps.
The device will hook up to TV sets via an HDMI port and will be controlled with a remote control. So far, so good, though it doesn’t sound very different from Google TV set-top boxes, right?
Well, as usual, Xiaomi will have pricing as its biggest ace up its sleeve, with the new stream-to-TV box being set to cost just RMB 399, which translates into $64 based on today’s conversion rates. Owners of Xiaomi phones will even be offered a discount, being able to get the set-top box at the unbelievably low price of RMB 299 ($48).
Unfortunately, another detail that makes this new gadget fall in line with other recently released Xiaomi products will be its limited availability. The first set-top boxes will go on sale today, at 9 PM Beijing time (8 AM EST), but only a small number of “test units” will be up for grabs for “fans only”.
After this testing phase, which shouldn’t take longer than a month or two, Xiaomi is promising to make a new batch of devices available. Still, we should expect that batch to be limited too, while a launch outside China seems less likely than the iPhone 5S to run Android.
As for specs and features of the Xiaomi Box, we don't know an awful lot right now, besides the fact that it will only measure 21 mm in thickness and 105 mm in diameter. There are also rumors that the device will be powered by an ARM Cortex A9-based CPU, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Anyone excited about this from the distant Asia? How about those of you living in America or Europe, would you like to see the Xiaomi Box break out of the Chinese borders? Why? Why not?