Android fans are probably aware of Chinese brand Xiaomi, which has been considered the Apple iPhone of China. The smartphone is described as such because of the tight integration between hardware and software, and because of how the phone is dependent on in-house services and apps.
For the price of $315 for a premium device, who wouldn't bite? Still, other smartphone users are likely to be oblivious to the device, even though it had been selling like hotcakes in China. That's becaues the Xiaomi Mi-One, initially released in August 2011, has had a China-only release.
Elsewhere, users would have to rely on the grey market, which tends to jack up prices, thereby defeating the purpose of the inexpensive phone itself. Likewise, the MIUI interface is highly dependent on in-house development, which non-Chinese users might not appreciate.
Word is that Xiaomi may be heading to Europe by 2013, says a source cited by Engadget. A Chinese startup is reportedly planning to bring its products to Europe, although there is no word as to when exactly in 2013 this will be.
Xiaomi has recently launched its second-generation Mi2 which is considered among today's most powerful smartphones spec-wise. The quad-core smartphone is especially attractive due to the price tag. The question at this point, however, is whether Xiaomi will be able to launch the Mi2, or whether European users would have to wait for the third-generation device.
Also interesting at this point is whether the European market will receive the phone warmly, given that other Chinese brands like Huawei and ZTE have not been able to penetrate the market like other Asian brands such as Samsung. Still, these smartphone makers are already popular in the U.S., if only for the co-branding that carriers have stamped on ZTE and Huawei smartphones. Will Xiaomi also go the same route?
Then, of course, users from other regions would also want to get their hands on an inexpensive premium-spec'd device. Give us a hint, Xiaomi! When can we expect an international release?