Contrary to expectations, Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 series may happen after all. That's according to Li Chuangqi, the company's very own product manager.
While speaking to fans on social media earlier this week, Li said Xiaomi has not given up on tablets. The assertion took industry watchers by surprise as it's been nearly two years since the Beijing-based firm last launched an Android slate.
Beyond confirming it exists, Li wasn't keen on discussing any specifics of Xiaomi's current tablet strategy.
The last two tablets from Xiaomi were the Mi Pad 4 and Mi Pad 4 Plus. Announced and released in mid-2018, the two slates appealed to budget-conscious consumers, much like the majority of Xiaomi's portfolio. Even if Xiaomi doesn't follow up on them directly, its future slates will likely fit in that same value-oriented niche.
Why is Xiaomi even considering a new tablet series?
As for the firm's reluctance to continue tablet investments, that phenomenon isn't difficult to explain. Over the last several years, narrow-display phablets largely replaced the functionality of tablets, all while doubling as smartphones. The 2020 tablet ecosystem hence comes down to iPads and a hugely diversified, albeit small, group of Android products.
This state of affairs means only the largest brands can even afford to continue churning out tablets. Besides Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, very few manufacturers remain in the space. It's unclear why is Xiaomi even pondering a return to the segment, given those trends. One explanation is that Li's latest comment is merely standard PR talk; one meant to avoid absolute statements instead of provide any sort of substance.
A less skeptical outlook would be that Xiaomi's unwillingness to completely rule out tablets doesn't equate to concrete plans for launching a new slate in the immediate future. Don't forget that following its 2018 IPO, the company's focus shifted from aggressive market share expansion to profits. And Android tablets haven't been synonymous with profits in a really long time. But publicly giving up on potential new revenue generators was never a good idea for publicly traded companies.
All things considered, anyone planning on buying a new Android tablet in 2020 probably shouldn't be waiting for the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5. Samsung and Huawei remain the only real modern options on the market; assuming security updates and customer support are things you care about to any degree. As it turns out, both of those companies are set to launch new Android slates in the coming months.