All week long, Xiaomi’s Global VP, Hugo Barra had been teasing an announcement at Google I/O. Which happened to be an Android TV set-top box that will be made available later this year, known as Mi Box. We caught up with Xiaomi at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View – where Google I/O is being held this year – and spoke with the Xiaomi team. With their own Android TV set-top box coming to the US, many started wondering about their smartphones making their way onto US soil this year. According to the head of MIUI (Xiaomi’s software skin that is on top of Android), they won’t be bringing any smartphones to the US this year. However they are seriously considering 2017 for their US debut.
Last year, Xiaomi held a “fireside chat” type event in San Francisco, where Xiaomi executives spoke with the US media. They essentially announced that they were going to create an online store for the US and sell a few products. These products were not smartphones or set-top boxes, but items that they are able to sell in the US without many issues. Things like the Mi Power Bank and the Mi Band. Soon the newly announced Mi Box will also be sold there, as well as on the Google Store. This was to open the door for Xiaomi to start to build a presence in the US, for when they do actually bring their devices into the US.
Xiaomi sells high-end smartphones (and mid-range ones as well) at really low prices. They are about half the price of the flagships that are sold in the US like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5. A big reason why many people are wanting Xiaomi to come to the US and start selling their smartphones. Xiaomi is one of the fastest-growing smartphone makers in China right now. Having been founded just over six years ago, and already being one of the largest smartphone OEMs in China (constantly fighting with Huawei for the top spot). Xiaomi has ventured outside of China a bit, but not very far. They do sell their products in India and Brazil. Both of which are fairly large “emerging” markets.
Looks like no Xiaomi Mi 5 for the US just yet, perhaps the Mi 6 will be made available in 2017, here in the US? It would definitely make for an interesting smartphone market in the US, for sure.