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MIUI 9 is now official, but don’t get too excited

Xiaomi has revealed its latest software version, MIUI 9, at an event in China — but it might not be the update you'd been hoping for.

Published onJuly 26, 2017

MIUI 9, Xiaomi’s latest software version, has been in beta for a while now and we’ve seen some of its features surface in rumors before. However, Xiaomi finally lifted the curtain on its new OS earlier today and detailed all the improvements it’s made since the previous iteration of the software. Spoiler alert: there’s nothing groundbreaking here.

For starters, Xiaomi has promised faster app launching speeds, which is often expected from a new OS version. After all, performance improvements are usually one of the main reasons for users to upgrade. We aren’t impressed by the so-called Dynamic resource allocation either. This algorithm gives apps that are currently in use priority access to system resources, improving their performance and stability. But, we’re not entirely sure how this is new — Android already prioritizes foreground processes when it comes to system resources.

There’s also the addition of a Split Screen feature — something that has been a part of Android Nougat since its initial public release.

Xiaomi Mi 5X revealed: a low-cost, high-power handset with dual cameras

The last three new features are exclusive to China for now, possibly because they all rely on language recognition to function properly. Proper localization can take time, as we learned from the numerous Bixby Voice delays.

The first China-exclusive improvement is Image Search. Xiaomi users will now be able to filter their photos by keywords, like in Google Photos. For example, using the search term “cat” in your photos should bring up all pictures of your furry roommate. The second is Smart Assistant, Xiaomi’s rival to Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa, but, as hinted at above, we could be waiting a while to pit it against its competitors.

The last main feature added to this update is the Smart App Launcher, which allows users to launch specific apps based on the current content of their screens. For example, if a friend sends you an SMS with a street address, you will be able to launch the navigation app straight from the messaging screen, saving valuable time.

Overall, it appears to be an ultimately underwhelming update from Xiaomi, but we’ll have to reserve final judgement until we get our hands on the software. What are your first impressions of MIUI 9? Let us know in the comments.

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