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Redmi 6: Xiaomi talks about its latest smartphone series, MediaTek, device availability and more

We spoke to Xiaomi to get a sense of the direction that the company is gradually moving towards and discuss its latest Redmi 6 series.

  • Updated: September 8, 2018 12:06 PM IST
Xiaomi Redmi 6 lineup

Xiaomi just announced its latest Redmi devices in the Indian market, the Xiaomi Redmi 6 series in the market. As part of the Redmi 6 series, the company announced the launch of three devices, the Xiaomi Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, and a completely new series, the Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro.

Similar to the previous generations of the Redmi services, the company has priced the device in line with the prices of the Redmi 5 lineup that the company launched back in December 2017 and even earlier this year. The actual announcement took place on September 5, 2018, at the launch event in New Delhi. The company held a separate event in Mumbai on September 7 to launch the Redmi 6 lineup. BGR India spoke to Xiaomi about the new Redmi lineup, Xiaomi and its new sub-brand Poco.

Raghu Reddy, the Head of Online Sales for Xiaomi and Anuj Sharma, the recently appointed Marketing Head for were present as part of the press briefing to answer all our questions about the Redmi 6 lineup and the company has a whole.

Availability of Xiaomi devices in the market

Xiaomi revealed that it maintained its spot of the number one smartphone brand for the fourth consecutive quarter in the Indian market. Considering that the list includes the company taking on the likes of Samsung, it really provides a context about how popular the smartphone is on the market. With the popularity and flash sale model for its new devices, availability has been one of the major concerns for Xiaomi regardless of the product that they are selling in the market.

Responding to the questions about the availability of the device, Raghu pointed out that the company is working on increasing its manufacturing capacity in India so that potential buyers don’t have an issue in getting their hands on the product. He also pointed out that it takes some time for the company to evaluate how many people are interested in the product while at the same time ramping up the production to match the initial flash sale demand and build enough for open sale in weeks, if not months after the launch.

He also pointed out that to solve the availability issue right after the launch, the company now makes sure that it does not immediately discontinue the older generation of its devices. This gives interested users an option to buy from Xiaomi if they can’t get their hands on the new devices and don’t mind a generation old device.

Improvements that Xiaomi aimed with the Redmi 6 series

Talking about the devices that company just launched, Raghu pointed out that the company simply wanted to improve upon the Redmi 5 lineup. With the Redmi 6A, the company wanted to improve the design, performance, and the camera of the device and introduced an 18:9 display with up to 2.0GHz SoC, 13-megapixel camera with electronic image stabilization in video and Dual VoLTE. It claimed that the 5A is the first in this segment with up to 2.0GHz processor that is based on a 12nm manufacturing process with quad-core CPU.

Xiaomi focused on bringing the dual camera setup with an Octa-core CPU clocked at 2.0 GHz to the customers with the Redmi 6 though it is not the first to bring it all in the market as the recently launched Realme 2 also brings an Octa-core CPU with dual camera setup though the CPU is clocked at 1.8GHz instead of 2.0.

Watch: Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro First Look

Last but not the least, the Redmi 6 Pro, a new lineup as part of the Redmi series was launched to bring improved camera performance along with dual camera setup and large battery backup to the Redmi series along with the 19:9 aspect ratio display. Similar to the Redmi 6, the Realme was the first to bring both these feature sets to the market with its Realme 2.

The impact Rupee-Dollar on the pricing of tech products

Xiaomi noted that the pricing of the Redmi 6 series is introductory for the first two months and stated that this was because of the fall of INR in comparison to the US dollar. Raghu clarified that Xiaomi is not the only company that is affected by this as most other companies are struggling with this change. This is because most of the supply chain of the products span the globe and depend on $ as the standard for the most part.

He stated that the company is keeping a close watch on the situation and it may need to increase the prices if the situation continues to deteriorate.

 

Why is Poco separate from Xiaomi?

Talking about the Poco by Xiaomi, the company shared a little bit of insight on Poco, its latest sub-brand. Raghu pointed out that the reason for making Poco separate from the Xiaomi team that include the Redmi and the Mi divisions is to ensure that the Poco team can work on its own without any influence or fixed notions on how they want to build a new product.

This would help the Poco devices to stand out and be different with bold decisions as compared to all the other Xiaomi Redmi and Mi devices.

Why is Poco really called “Poco”?

The company added that “Poco” in Spanish means “small” which signifies the roots of Xiaomi. With the Poco sub-brand, the company is going back to its roots, by starting small and disrupting the market.

Other reasons for the name include similar pronunciation across the globe to avoid the confusion that we saw with the name “Xiaomi” at the very beginning of the company. Last but not the least, according to the company, Poco commands a strong brand recalling power as the name tends to stick in one’s head.

Move to MediaTek as performance is the priority

This was the first time when Xiaomi launched MediaTek powered smartphones in the Indian market. To recap, the Redmi 6A comes with an Helio A22 in comparison to the Redmi 5A that packed a Snapdragon 425 and the Redmi 6 come with an Helio P22 while the Redmi 5 came with a Snapdragon 450.

The company clarified that the reason it went with the MediaTek instead of Qualcomm was as the processors offered more or same number of cores at a higher clock speed while being built using 12nm manufacturing process instead of 28nm when compared with offerings by Qualcomm. For the people who don’t know, the smaller the manufacturing process of the SoC or processor, the more power efficient the smartphone will be, giving a better battery backup.

Raghu added that the company looked at the latest offerings by Qualcomm but they did not provide enough improvements that would justify changing from the Qualcomm chips in the Redmi 5 series.

Snapdragon 625 for three generation of devices

We were surprised when Xiaomi announced that it is launching its Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro, the new from the lineup. Raghu added that the reason for the company to continue to use the Snapdragon 625 in a third generation smartphone is because newer SoCs by Qualcomm did not provide any significant bump in numbers for performance or battery savings to justify a change just for marketing reasons.

He maintained that Xiaomi has done enough optimizations to ensure that the device can run for multiple years without any issues.

When does it decide that there are too many devices on the market

Xiaomi added that while it realizes that it has launched a number of devices in the last couple of months including Xiaomi Redmi 6, Redmi 6A, Redmi 6 Pro, Redmi Y2, Mi A2, Redmi Note 5 Pro, and even the Mi MIX 2 and the associated problems that come with a large device model lineup. It pointed out that this is because the company wants to cater to its users with specific needs. The company just wanted to provide users who are looking for a specific type of smartphone, with options giving the example of Redmi Y2.

  • Published Date: September 8, 2018 11:47 AM IST
  • Updated Date: September 8, 2018 12:06 PM IST