With the smartphone market no longer the Holy Grail it once was at the start of the decade, it seems like every other tech company is jumping onto the VR bandwagon of late. Which is understandable to a large extent, seeing as a lot of industry watchers have tipped virtual and augmented reality to be the future of consumer technology over the next decade or so. With a number of global tech biggies like Samsung, Sony and HTC already burning the midnight oil on their much talked-about upcoming VR headsets, it now emerges that Chinese smartphone giant, Xiaomi Technology, is also betting big on the virtual reality sector. Not just that, but Xiaomi will apparently also look to establish a presence in the robotics sector, which is exactly what the company’s affable and charismatic CEO, Mr. Lei Jun, has now announced during a press conference held by the company on Friday.
According to Mr. Lei’s announcement, Xiaomi is investing heavily in R&D to make its presence felt in the emerging VR and robotics sectors. He reportedly also declared that this year will mark an important milestone for the company whereby it will explore possibilities in the two aforementioned emerging sectors of the consumer electronics industry, which are yet in their nascent stages. While the chief exec kept his clues cryptic and did not divulge much more than that, it will be interesting to see if the company will be able to compete with some of the industry players who already have a head start over them in the segment. That being said, Xiaomi has already shown the ability to shake up an established industry with attractive offerings in its first coming, so not many would probably be betting against history repeating itself this time around as well.
Either way, while VR and robotics may indeed be in Xiaomi’s future, smartphones are most definitely the company’s present, but that’s one area it didn’t do as well last year as it had been doing previously. According to the latest report released by Taiwan-based market research and analysis firm, TrendForce, Xiaomi lost a chunk of its market share last year because of its inability to launch a new flagship handset. Also, the lack of core patents is hurting the company as well, seeing as its wildly popular Redmi Note 2 didn’t make its way through to a critical market like India, amidst ongoing patent-related disputes. The company will be hoping it will be able to put its woes from last year behind it, and start afresh this year.