xiaomi mi4 review aa (8 of 19)

The mobile market is a crowded place, with OEMs from around the globe all competing for their slice of the pie. When it comes to some, however, we’re dealing with full blown bakeries. For the past few years, Samsung has been the undisputed champ, in no small part thanks to its Galaxy S line, Galaxy Note line, and Galaxy Tab line. To many a customer in 2010, these devices literally were Android. This is 2014 however, and things have changed. Samsung has been faced with rather disappointing earnings, and Chinese rivals are everywhere, replete with features on-par with, if not sometimes actually better than, the Korean conglomerate.

At the recently held Samsung Investors Forum 2014, a number of revelations were to be had: (1) Samsung plans to release a bendable smartphone before the end of 2015, (2) it will be releasing far fewer models in the future (flashbacks anyone?), and (3) it’s none too thrilled with Xiaomi, the Chinese giant who has taken the #1 spot from Samsung in the absolutely massive Chinese mobile marketplace.

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Of this third detail, Robert Yi, Senior VP and Head of IR at Samsung Electronics, offered the following evaluation: “They are a mysterious entity. I don’t know where they create profit.” Offering a follow-up, the executive then went on to question if Xiaomi’s frugal approach of online-only promotion and sales would work outside its home country: “They have created a good user experience that caters for the needs of Chinese consumers,” he said. “But I don’t know if it will work outside of China.”

Given that Xiaomi has already expressed interest in dominating other markets, including India, it’s only natural for Samsung to be on the offensive. The very market it arguably helped shape is being eaten away by companies that were once seemingly innocuous. And that doesn’t even begin to account for its domestic rival, LG, which not only has some big plans as well, but enjoyed a major success this past financial quarter. Still, with the big Korean one planning to fold things over next year, it’s possible it may yet find a way to stay top-dog.