Opinion: Xiaomi Should Rethink Their Naming Policies

Xiaomi is one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in China at the moment, and it has been that way for years now. This company was founded back in 2010, and in 2014 they managed to become China’s number one smartphone manufacturer. That being said, Xiaomi is no longer number 1 in China, their sales dropped quite a bit in the first half of this year, but that might not be Xiaomi’s fault, at least not entirely, as the competition in China is fierce and the market is quite saturated at this point in time. According to the latest report, Xiaomi had managed to sell 23.6 million handsets in the first half of this year, though the company is still number one as far as online sales go, as the vast majority of the device they sold were purchased online (17.4 million). Huawei is currently in the lead overall, and is followed by OPPO, Apple, Vivo and Xiaomi. Samsung is trailing behind Xiaomi, and Meizu managed to take the 7th place in China in the first half of this year.

Having that in mind, Xiaomi had introduced quite a few devices this year, most of which are Redmi-branded, which essentially symbolizes Xiaomi’s mid-range offerings. The company did introduce a flagship phone earlier this year as well, though, the Xiaomi Mi 5. This smartphone was announced back in February during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, and has been available in some regions for a while now. Now, we’re here to talk about Xiaomi’s naming structure, which is quite confusing, and it might be the right time for Xiaomi to change things around. Considering the fact that the company releases so many devices a year (which is also something that might need changing), they tend to release some very similarly-named devices, which tends to confuse people, and that’s not surprising at all, read on.

Xiaomi’s naming structure is quite weird as it is, their low-end and mid-range devices are usually released as ‘Xiaomi Redmi’ smartphones, while their higher-end models usually come with the ‘Xiaomi Mi’ branding. Now, considering the fact that Xiaomi releases tons of phones a year, they might reconsider naming them so similarly. Let me give you an example, they’ve released the Redmi 3, Redmi Note 3, Redmi 3 Pro, Redmi 3s, Redmi 3s Prime and Redmi 3x devices this year, all of them are ‘Redmi 3’ phones essentially, but there are way too many devices here and things get really confusing, even though some are meant to be sold in China, while others are made for Indian users. Now, there’s a simple solution to such problems actually, instead of changing names for all those devices to make them more unique, perhaps they should simply release less Redmi phones? Xiaomi had introduced 8 Redmi devices this year, and truth be told they could have easily released only 4 and cover all the stops they did with those 8 phones that are currently available.

Now, this article is mostly aimed at Redmi-branded devices, as their naming is most confusing to people, but the company’s general branding might not be the best. The Xiaomi Mi 5 is their current flagship, while they’ve also introduced the Mi 4s and Mi Max earlier this year. The Mi 4s is quite a compelling mid-range smartphone, though by its name, you’d think this a successor to the Mi 4 or something like that. The Mi 4 was Xiaomi’s flagship smartphone back in 2014, so releasing the Mi 4s a year and a half later makes no sense, especially considering this phone is not exactly all that similar to the Mi 4. As far as Mi Max goes, that is Xiaomi’s enormous phablet, it sports a 6.44-inch fullHD display, and its name suggests either a huge battery, or a huge display, but it’s too general. The Mi Max might be the first of its kind to be released by Xiaomi, but perhaps the company should have opted for a different name, perhaps the ‘Mi 5 Max’, or something of the sort, so that we know in which year was it released, or something like that. There’s a good reason why Samsung opted to ditch the Galaxy Note 6 naming and skip over to the Galaxy Note 7, so that their lineups are lined up together nicely (Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy Note 7), so that they’re more recognizable to consumers.

As if we did not give out enough examples, there’s yet another one worth mentioning. Xiaomi is expected to introduce their new flagship phablet by the end of this month, the Xiaomi Mi Note 2. This smartphone’s name also has nothing to do with the Mi 5, nor any of the Redmi devices, and if rumors are to be believed, Xiaomi might release this device under the ‘Xiaomi Pro’ name, which is even more confusing. The Xiaomi Pro really doesn’t say all that much, and it would be hard for an average consumer to figure out what kind of a device is that. If leaks are to be believed, the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 aka Xiaomi Pro will be a beautiful piece of hardware, and it definitely deserves a great name to go with it, a name that would make it quite recognizable.

As already mentioned, Xiaomi’s sales have slowed down, and it will be interesting to see how many devices will the company be able to ship by the end of this year. Now, the company’s naming structure and a number of devices they ship probably did not influence their sales all that much, but it might help them to rethink their strategy. Xiaomi is currently actively selling their devices only in specific regions, they’re by far the most active in China, though they’re doing their best to leave their mark in India as well. Sorting out their smartphone naming scheme and releasing less Redmi phones a year might help their branding in general, and would definitely be a smart move if they plan to move to other markets, as consumers in Europe and the US would certainly appreciate a bit more clarity, considering they’ll be quite confused if Xiaomi brings a ton of Redmi-branded phones their way, as they won’t be able to tell the difference. Xiaomi should establish a branding that makes a lot of sense, so that they can heavily push that branding, and devices to go along with it. Truth be told, it seems like the company is still looking for the right fit, as they have been throwing out all sorts of names out there.

Xiaomi is definitely not the only smartphone manufacturer with such a ‘problem’, there are a number of other companies whose naming structure is quite confusing, and companies who release way too many devices every year. Meizu is actually another great example, as the company had introduced quite a few devices this year, and their naming scheme is also quite odd. The Meizu MX4 Pro was introduced back in 2014, then that line more or less transformed to the ‘PRO’ line, after which the company introduced the Meizu PRO 5 in 2015, which was followed by the Meizu PRO 6 this year, and those two devices are not that similar at all, the Meizu PRO 5 is an Exynos 7420-powered phablet (5.2-inch display), while the PRO 6 is a Helio X25-powered smartphone (5.2-inch panel). There are a couple more examples in Meizu’s line, and we can take a number of other smartphone manufacturers as an example, but that’s a story for some other day. It remains to be seen what will happen with Xiaomi in the coming months, this company is still one of the largest Chinese smartphone manufacturing companies, and they ought to expand to Europe and the US at some point in time, and we’ll see if they intend to alter their naming structure, and how many devices do they intend to release next year. Xiaomi's potential is through the roof, and we wonder whether the company will be able to figure things out.

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About the Author

Kristijan Lucic

Assistant Editor
Kristijan has been writing for Android Headlines since 2014 and is an editor for the site. He has worked as a writer for several outlets before joining Android Headlines, and has a background in writing about Android and technology in general. He is a smartphone enthusiast that specializes in Android applications, and that platform in general. Contact him at Kristijan. [email protected]