Xiaomi is the fastest growing smartphone manufacturer in the world. This company was founded back in 2010, and they’re currently the third biggest smartphone vendor in the world and have shipped 61 million smartphones in 2014. If you consider that the company moved “only” 19 million devices in 2013, you get a really nice image of the company’s growth rate, they shipped three times more devices in 2014 than they did a year before. That being said, Xiaomi is well known for their low prices and well-built devices, but they’re also known as the Chinese Apple. Xiaomi is trying to differentiate and avoid that comparison, but was unable to do that thus far, we’ll see how will they fare in the future.
This Chinese smartphone OEM has released a couple of smartphones in 2014, the Redmi 1S, Redmi Note (3G & 4G variants) and the Mi4. The Xiaomi Mi4 was the company’s flagship handset until the recently launched Mi Note and Mi Note Pro devices appeared, while the Redmi 1S and Redmi Note were sort of a budget mid-range devices. Xiaomi has released the Redmi 1S’ successor on January 4th, a new and improved version for even less cash, and a lot of people thought the company will do the same for the Redmi Note on their January 15 event, but the company managed to surprise us. As I already mentioned, the Xiaomi Mi Note and Mi Note Pro were launched during that event. The company has removed the “Redmi” branding and branded these handsets Mi Note and Mi Note Pro. This doesn’t have to mean we won’t be seeing the Redmi Note 2 launch in the coming months though, perhaps it’ll launch in March, considering its predecessor was launched in March 2014.
Let’s put this into perspective, the Redmi Note 2 was a really popular device and next to the Redmi 1S the best selling device of the company last year. The main reason for that, aside from the fact this thing has solid spec sheet, was its pricing. This thing was priced at $130 (the 3G variant) in China when it launched, which was a bargain for a device which came with a 4.7-inch 720p display, 2GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel camera. The Xiaomi Mi Note and Mi Note Pro are significantly more expensive devices, Mi Note’s pricing starts at 2,299 Yuan ($371), while Mi Note Pro will be available starting from 3,299 Yuan ($532).
As you can see, the Redmi Note was in a completely different category of devices compared to the new “Mi Note” devices. It will definitely be interesting to see how well these devices will sell once Xiaomi launches them, the company basically transformed their mid-range line into a high-end line. I don’t think the Redmi Note and Mi Note line target the same type of consumers though, so a follow-up to a Redmi Note would be a smart move by Xiaomi. I have no doubt in my mind that the Mi Note handsets will be a success, this pricing is way higher compared to the Redmi Note, but looking from a global perspective and compared to devices in the same category (flagships), these handsets are actually quite affordable. Not to mention that they pack the latest and the greatest specs, especially the Mi Note Pro which features a 5.7-inch 2K display, 4GB of DDR4 RAM and is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 64-bit octa-core chip. Price is definitely not their main selling point, but it is definitely a benefiting factor. Either way you spin this, Xiaomi has added two great phablets to their lineup and we’ll see how well will they sell in China, and hopefully other markets if Xiaomi manages to expand somewhere else in 2015, as they’re planning to do, and offer these handsets for sale outside of their home country.