Xiaomi has come a long way since starting off as a new entrant to the world of Android smartphones a few years back. In the space of a few short years, they have gone from being an energetic upstart to a consumer electronics giant, making smartphones, smart wearables, tablets, smart TVs and a variety of accessories. They have well and truly earned pride of place as the number one smartphone manufacturer in China and has also tasted great success in other important markets that they have expanded to in the last year, like India.
The Company recently launched its mid-ranger Mi 4i and Mr. Hugo Barra, Vice President of International for Xiaomi spoke to reporters on a number of issues on the occasion of the phone’s Hong Kong launch. Asked about Xiaomi’s policy of ditching the microSD card slot thereby reducing storage space on the device, Mr. Barra was categorical that microSD cards drag down the performance and affect the battery capacity, ergonomics and appearance of the device. Which is why, he said Xiaomi is fundamentally opposed to the idea of an external card. He also said one of the things Xiaomi had to take into consideration was the high rate of piracy in China, which meant that many of the cards being sold as products from reliable brands like Kingston or SanDisk, were actually poor clones with severely compromised reliability and functionality. He also predicted that “SD cards will disappear” in their entirety.
As for removable batteries, another feature that is no longer found in many top-end Android devices unlike a few years earlier when it was considered standard, Mr. Barra said that according to Xiaomi’s research, most people don’t care about removing their installed batteries, which is why he sees no reason for making a removable battery, which would compromise on the aesthetics by necessitating a removable back cover. However, explaining the inherent dichotomy in having their entry level Redmi series phones still ship with both an external card slot and a removable battery in direct contrast to his assertions, Mr. Barra said that the slower external cards don’t affect performance to the same degree on lower end devices compared to the high-performance ones, which is why, those slots are still present on devices like the Redmi 2.
Hugo Barra also spoke about taking Xiaomi to his home country of Brazil, which according to most indications, is going to happen in just a matter of weeks.