Making smart moves in a mobile industry

The lucrative mobile industry is often hard to break into with global market leaders spending billions on innovations to stay on top of the game however, could a Chinese start-up be about to break the mould?

Xiaomi, a name not commonly recognised by the average consumer in the UK or US, is making a huge impact in the east with many believing it could be eyeing up markets outside of its homeland. The company's founder and CEO, Lei Jun, is now China's 23rd richest according to Forbes as the company sold over 60 million smart phones last year alone.

The Beijing-based manufacturer of smart phones has been in countless battles with market leader Apple in recent years over claims it has mimicked its designs however, there has been no official complaint made as of yet. BQ looked at how they compare.

China as a market is notorious for being hard to secure patents, as BMW famously struggled to win a case over a ‘spitting-dabs’ clone of its X5 model back in 2007. Many would argue however, that there is a significant difference between the world’s leading smart phone producer and its rapidly emerging rival in the far east judging by the newest Xiaomi release yesterday.

One of the main reasons Xiaomi is doing so well in China and is now eyeing up other emerging markets such as India and Brazil, is its cost. With specifications to both rival and top, its competitors Samsung and Apple, their devices are being released at almost half the price.

The ‘Mi Note’ phablet was released yesterday, the new flagship smartphone by Xiaomi set to rival the iPhone 6 plus with the slogan "the bigger, the better."

Mii Note

With a 5.7in screen, the Mi Note is slightly larger than the 5.5in display of the iPhone 6plus and also has a full HD display with a pixel density of 386ppi. 

Mi Note Dimensions

The Mi Note also has a 13MP rear camera. Taking a jab at Apple once again, Xiaomi also claimed the Mi Note’s main camera does not protrude out like the iPhone 6.

Mi Note Camera

As far as the build of the Mi Note goes, the front panel features a 2.5D curved glass and a 3D curved rear panel however, is thinner than it’s Apple counterpart. There’s a metallic rim around the sides and the back camera. Also, like the larger iPhone 6 Plus, the Mi Note has a one-handed mode that minimises the size of app windows for easier one-handed use.

Mi Note Glass

It is not just Apple’s devices that Xiaomi are being compared with either, with many drawing comparisons with Lei Jun and the late Steve Jobs of Apple. Would you agree?

Mi Note Lei Jun

Although an international release has not yet been announced outside of its home market, many experts are predicting it could make a move for the emerging markets in the near future, with the more established markets being a lot harder to break into.

Despite being seen as a cheaper alternative to its rivals at Apple and Samsung, it could be viewed as both cheaper and better, judging by what we have witnessed so far.

As far as price goes, the Mi Note starts from CN¥2,299, which converts to around £244 with Apple selling its iPhone 6 Plus without a SIM card for £619.

With the specifications shown above, can you see Xiaomi making it on the British high street or will it remain the hidden gem of the middle kingdom?