Xiaomi have a colored history when it comes to selling their devices. The business, which is a relative newcomer to the industry, has in the past carefully managed the supply and demand for their devices by a carefully orchestrated series of sales based on hunger marketing. Hunger marketing is a technique employed by businesses designed to keep a particular product accessible but not readily available; in Xiaomi’s case, the business has had to carefully manage stock of handsets because as a relatively small player, it did not wish to manufacture a large number of devices to have them unsold occupying space in a warehouse somewhere. Xiaomi have sold particular devices inside a few second or minutes when these sales were announced: for example, in India, the Xiaomi Mi 4i Android smartphone was announced it would be going on sale in April and Xiaomi sold 40,000 units at a flash sale in the closing days of the month. The Mi 4i was sold at a price of Rs. 12,999, a shade over $200.
To refresh readers on the Xiaomi Mi 4i, your $200 buys you a smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop under Xiaomi’s MIUI v6 user interface. The handset is based around the octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, which combines a quad core, low power ARM Cortex-A53 processor with a quad core, higher performance ARM Cortex-A53 cluster. This System-on-Chip, or SoC, is backed up by 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. There’s a 5.0-inch, 1080p display panel and a 13MP rear camera complete with a two tone flash. On the front, there’s a 5MP, wide angle camera for video conferencing and selfies. The Mi 4i is a dual SIM device and each SIM card supports Indian band 4 LTE frequencies. Finally, the device is kept powered by a 3,120 mAh rechargeable battery.
Xiaomi has now announced that the Mi 4i will be available on open sale in India, several month after it was released. This illustrates how carefully Xiaomi manage demand for the device – early adopters needed to register and be quick on the draw in order to buy the device, but for those people less quick on the ordering website, the device is available a small number of months later. That the device will be readily available may indicate that Xiaomi are preparing to retool the handset, perhaps for a new processor. The device is available in India in both white and dark grey colors through Mi.com, Flipkart, Amazon, The Mobile Store and Airtel.