Update, February 2: Our suspicions were warranted. Xiaomi sent out a statement regarding US Cellular, confirming that US Cellular is not an authorized dealer and that is simply importing devices from China:
Recent reports have indicated that Xiaomi products will be available in the US. Xiaomi only offers a small selection of accessories for sale in the US through Mi.com. There are no plans to sell smartphones through any authorised distributors in the US. US Mobile is not authorised to sell Xiaomi products in the US.
Original post, February 1: Xiaomi has arisen as a massive player in the global smartphone arena. The upstart Chinese company has proven to be a scrappy champion of the middle market, and over the last few years, they’ve risen to a place of prominence throughout Asia. Their aggressive sales and refreshing marketing tactics have made them competitive even with the big dogs, but to-date it’s been incredibly difficult to get your hands on a Xiaomi smartphone if you’re living in a Western country. That is, until now.
US Mobile just revealed that they’re importing Xiaomi and Meizu phones for use on the T-Mobile network. But puzzlingly, the devices they’ve selected aren’t exactly the cream of the crop, and they aren’t optimized for use in the states. US Mobile is now selling the Xiaomi Redmi 2, the Mi 3, and the Mi 4, as well as the Meizu Note 2. What we want to know is, where is the Mi Note in that lineup?
Sure, the $199 to $219 price range is nice, and you do get some pretty incredible hardware for what you’re paying, but none of these devices are optimized for US mobile networks. That means no LTE for you, and to make matters worse, the handsets all come pre-loaded with Chinese apps and services that won’t work in the US.
We’re scratching our heads a little bit at this move. US Mobile is effectively taking the hassle out of importing these products by doing the heavy lifting themselves instead of leaving you with a bunch of hoops to jump through. Nevertheless, this isn’t official arrival of Xiaomi’s boots on US soil that we’ve been hoping for. If you’re looking for an inexpensive device to experiment with, maybe one of these smartphones is for you, but as for an everyday driver… we’re going to keep waiting for something a bit more official.
What are your thoughts regarding the arrival of these devices? Think you’ll be picking one up anytime soon, or will you be waiting like we are? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!