Today Xiaomi presented the world with the Mi Max, a beast of a phone featuring a 6.44-inch display and a 4,850 mAh battery.
The Mi Max brings something new on the software side as well: the small tablet gigantic phone is the first device to launch with Xiaomi’s MIUI 8 operating system.
At its launch event today in Beijing, Xiaomi stated that over 200 million users worldwide now have devices running MIUI. Unsurprisingly, the interest for the latest version is high and the good news is the update is quite substantial.
Visually, MIUI 8 sports a palette of bold new colors, but the general appearance of the user interface remains familiar.
Texted is rendered in a new font in MIUI 8; dubbed Mi Lanting, the new font family (including Latin and Chinese scripts) is designed to be highly legible even after spending a few hours staring at the screen.
MIUI 8 introduces two new feature designed to improve battery life – Power saving mode freezes background apps and tasks in order to keep the phone running for as long as possible. Meanwhile, users are able to select which apps they want to load at startup, which should improve performance, in addition to prolonging battery life.
Phones running MIUI 8 will highlight messages that could be spam or other suspicious activities, including fraud. MIUI 8 also revamps the Notes app, which can now be secured via password or fingerprints. Users can pick from a variety of templates to create and share notes, while browsing has also been revamped.
Other utility features coming to the new version of MIUI 8 are an improved calculator and convertor app, and a product and barcode scanner that lets you check out products in store and search or buy them from your phone. One of the more peculiar additions is a math problem solving app; users can scan a, say, geometry problem, and get a solution complete with step by step guides. In theory that sounds amazing, but we have to wonder just effective – or appropriate – this functionality will be.
Xiaomi devices boast powerful cameras and MIUI 8 brings enhancements to the gallery app that comes preloaded on them. These include new share controls, multiple photo selection, and support for various doodles and stickers. Video editing has also been improved, and overall, the gallery app is said to be more storage efficient.
MIUI 8 will eventually make its way to devices including Mi 2, Mi 2S, Mi 3, Mi 4, Mi 4C, Mi 4S, and the Mi 5. Users in China can sign up to join the MIUI 8 beta program starting May 16, with the actual beta set to roll out from June 1. Developer ROMs have been promised for June 17.