China s Xiaomi needs no introduction. It is one of those unicorn startups that have gained popularity, not only in its home country, but also in emerging markets such as India. Currently, Xiaomi is also one of the top smartphone manufacturers in the world. With the company all set to launch its highly-anticipated Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone in India tomorrow, we take a look back at Xiaomi s history and how the Mi smartphones have evolved over the years. Also Read - Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 could launch as a high-end phone with tons of exciting featuresAlso Read - Xiaomi confirms Mi 11 Lite colour variants in India: Here are the options available
In April 2010, ex-Kingsoft CEO Lei Jun founded Xiaomi as a software company to create a custom ROM based on Android operating system. The aim was to create a ROM with simple user interface and additional functionality, which the pure Android OS lacked. The team created MIUI ROM, which not only became a huge success, but also got ported to a lot of devices. Also Read - Best wearable gift ideas under Rs 5,000 for Father's Day 2021
The user interface of MIUI ROM resembled Apple s iOS, and came with sophisticated services such as a custom music player with equalizer and lyrics fetcher, cloud backup for messages, contacts and call logs and also the company s own app store boasting apps, themes, ringtones and wallpapers.
In 2011, Xiaomi entered the hardware market by launching the Mi 1 smartphone, which came with top-of-the-line specifications at an unbelievable price. The company has continued with this strategy, and since day one has stuck with its online-only flash sale model. Together with iOS-like UI (without app drawer) and disruptive pricing, users and critics started calling Xiaomi The Apple of China. In September 2013, Xiaomi also roped in ex-Googler and former VP of Android, Hugo Barra, who now serves as Xiaomi s VP for international markets. Now, let s take a look at how the Mi smartphones have evolved over the years.
Xiaomi Mi 1: Xiaomi s very first smartphone, the Mi 1, was unveiled in August 2011 and it went on sale in October. The smartphone was pitted against Samsung s Galaxy S2 with equivalent hardware and costing nearly $300 (approximately Rs 18,000).
On the hardware front, it sported a 4-inch (854×480 pixels) display, Qualcomm s Snapdragon S3 dual-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM. The smartphone also sported an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 2-megapixel selfie camera, and connectivity options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. It ran on MIUI custom ROM based on Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS. A little later, the company launched a refreshed version called Mi 1s with a slightly faster processor and MIUI ROM based on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Xiaomi Mi 2: A year later in 2012, Xiaomi launched the Mi 2. The successor to the Mi 1 was equipped with upgraded internals while keeping the cost same at $300. It featured a 4.3-inch HD (720p) display, Qualcomm s Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor, paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB and 32GB internal storage options.
On the camera front, Xiaomi continued with an 8-megapixel rear sensor with LED flash and a front-facing 2-megapixel sensor. With a 2,000mAh battery and connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, it ran on MIUI ROM based on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. In April 2013, Xiaomi again launched a refresh version called the Mi 2S with a slightly faster processor and 32GB storage variant with 13-megapixel rear camera.
Xiaomi Mi 3: In September 2013, Xiaomi announced the Mi 3 smartphone with an aggressive pricing and top-of-the-line hardware. It was also one of the first Xiaomi handsets to officially launch in India. In terms of hardware, it sported a slightly larger 5-inch full HD (1080p) display covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, and was powered by Qualcomm s flagship Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM.
It also featured 16GB and 64GB onboard storage options, 13-megpaixel rear sensor with dual LED flash, 2-megapixel selfie camera, 3,050mAh battery with fast charging support, and connectivity options like 3G support, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. It ran on MIUI 5 ROM based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS, and since then has received KitKat and Lollipop updates as well.
Xiaomi Mi 4: In August 2014, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 4 smartphone, which was a major departure from the previous Xiaomi smartphones. As was the trend at that time, it came with a unibody design along with a metal frame and the latest hardware on board.
It sported a 5-inch full HD (1080p) display with Gorilla Glass protection, Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB and 64GB onboard storage options. It also featured a 13-megapixel rear camera with 4K video recording capabilities, 8-megapixel selfie camera, and 3,080mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 support. The smartphone was 4G LTE enabled, but for some reason, Xiaomi chose to release the 3G variant in India.
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On the software front, it ran on KitKat-based MIUI 5, and is due to get the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow update with MIUI 7 ROM. The Xiaomi Mi 4 is also one of the first smartphones to officially support Windows Phone 10 ROM.
Xiaomi Mi 5: Breaking the yearly cycle of releasing flagship smartphones, Xiaomi took nearly two years to release the successor to the Mi 4. Xiaomi finally unveiled the Mi 5 at MWC in Barcelona last month, which brings in a host of changes on the design and hardware front. To begin with, it sports a 3D front and back glass encased in a metal, thus adding to its premium look and feel. There is also a variant with 3D Ceramic body.
It flaunts a 5.15-inch 1080p display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, and is powered by Qualcomm s latest Snapdragon 820 chipset. The 32GB and 64GB variants feature 3GB of RAM, while the 128GB variant features 4GB of RAM.
It also features a 16-megapixel rear camera with PDAF, 4-axis optical image stabilization, dual-tone dual LED flash and 4K video recording support, 4-UltraPixel selfie camera, and a 3,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support. It also comes with connectivity options like 4G with VoLTE support, IR Blaster, NFC and USB-Type C port. It also runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based MIUI 7 ROM.
Xiaomi’s latest flagship smartphone is all set to be launched in India tomorrow. The 128GB variant is unlikely to be launched, and the company has already revealed that the upcoming smartphone will be priced between Rs 20,000 and Rs 27,000.