Although Xiaomi is largely known for the feverish growth of its smartphone sales last year, the company’s accessories have entered the spotlight as of late and especially for consumers in Europe and North America, due to the recent opening of the online Mi accessory store within these markets. One of which, the Mi Band fitness tracker, has done particularly well with over six million shipments since its launch in July 2014, making Xiaomi the second largest wearable manufacturer in the world. The Mi Band’s disruptiveness does not stem from being a feature rich device, instead Xiaomi opted for a no-frills approach with a corresponding no-frills price point (approximately $15) to propel its first wearable device to success.
The follow-up to the original Mi Band, expected to launch within a couple of months, will be much more advanced from a technical perspective than its older brother. A render has recently surfaced on the Chinese social network Weibo that indicates the Mi Band 2 will opt for a touchscreen display, unlike the relatively spartan original, whose data could only be accessed via an app on your smartphone. The render doesn’t really hint at what sort of interactivity we can expect the new display to have, as it is simply showing the time. Though it makes sense it will be able to at least, display steps taken and some sleep monitoring data, which were features offered by the original Mi Band.
A potentially unique use of the of the Mi Band 2’s display is mobile payments, as it will give users the ability to pay for goods via Alipay (Alibaba’s payment terminals). Though the Mi Band 2 will still need to interact with a smartphone in order to conduct mobile payments the display could be used to either confirm a payment on the user’s end or provide some sort of notification the transaction has completed. Xiaomi has indicated the Mi Band 2’s payment system will eliminate the need to pull out your smartphone and be a seamless experience enacted entirely from the Mi Band 2 on the user’s end; a native interactive display will certainly help in this regard. All things considered, the Mi Band 2 could provide a much richer experience from a feature standpoint then the Mi Band. If Xiaomi manages to maintain a similar price point, which has been rumored, the Mi Band 2 could far exceed the disruptiveness of the original and give Jawbone and Fitbit a run for their money. Especially, as the Mi store is accessible in Western markets where these fitness trackers tend to dominate.
UPDATE: This is in fact ZeaPlus’ smartband, more info here.