One of Xiaomi‘s newest subsidiaries is solely dedicated to designing and manufacturing gaming smartphones and may release its first commercial product as early as this year, with the Black Shark brand recently launching its official Weibo page. The firm still hasn’t started teasing any products but may do so shortly, with one of its devices already being referenced by a government agency that hinted at a highly advanced cooling system and a flagship system-on-chip. If Black Shark is truly developing a gaming smartphone, placing a large focus on a robust cooling system would be in line with such a product strategy; while contemporary mobile chips already pack enough power to handle some extremely graphically intensive games, they usually struggle to offer sustained performance due to overheating that causes their hardware to throttle itself, hence not offering a consistent user experience.
No specifics on the cooling system set to be part of Black Shark’s first handset have yet been uncovered, save for a vague reference to an “aviation-class” setup. Xiaomi has yet to officially express an ambition to compete in the gaming smartphone segment of the market that’s still a niche product category with no real support from major original equipment manufacturers. Before the release of the Razer Phone in late 2017, the last globally advertised mobile device designed to cater to gamers has been the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play from 2011. Razer managed to reignite some interest in such hardware with its first handset offering and its unique 120Hz display, though it’s presently unclear whether its somewhat successful mobile gaming experiment was what prompted Xiaomi to try its luck in the same segment.
Besides the Chinese tech giant, ASUS is also said to be developing a gaming-centric Android smartphone meant to be released later this year, though details about the Taiwanese company’s project remain scarce. The upcoming iteration of the Mobile World Congress may see the introduction of one such handset, with the Barcelona, Spain-based trade show having a reputation of being the place where OEMs launch highly experimental devices. Xiaomi itself has an extremely successful year behind it, having nearly doubled its global smartphone shipments, and is expected to hold an initial public offering in the second half of 2018, with insiders recently claiming the firm is targeting a valuation of up to $100 billion.