Xiaomi cellphone maker was founded by Rockstar entrepreneur Lei Jun barely five years ago. It has since grown to become the most successful cell phone manufacturer in China, even ousting electronics heavyweights like Apple and Samsung.
Although there have been various accusations leveled against Xiaomi of trying to copy Apple. The company is undoubtedly producing quality mobile devices that meet the budget of consumers in developing nations. That is probably why it was able to enter successfully the fast-growing mobile market in India, and is now gearing to enter the African market come September 2015.
According to the London-based GSM Association’s The Mobile Economy, sub-Saharan Africa 2014 report: “sub-Saharan Africa has been the fastest-growing region over the last five years, in terms of both unique subscribers and connections… By June 2014, there were 329 million unique subscribers, equivalent to a penetration rate of 38%… (and) 608 million connections.”
Based on the excerpt from the above report, it is easy to see why Xiaomi has decided the African consumers are its next targeted customers. Thus, Geek Savanna is going to explore just what exactly should the African consumers be expecting from this giant China company that is ousting smartphone industry’s heavyweights light Apple and Samsung.
When the company launches in Africa, come September 2015. It will have two products already on the offering; the Xiaomi Red Mi 2 and the Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphones. Geek Savanna pops the hood and looks at the gizmos tacked underneath.
From an aesthetics point of view, the Red Mi 2 might not be the cutest phone you’ve ever come around. It resembles a Lumia smartphone, but one on a diet and skinny albeit still bulky. So if you are looking for some bragging rights based on a slick looking smartphone, this is not the phone you want to be spotted carrying around.
Display: 7-inch IPS LCD 720p screen
Camera: 8MP rear
Processor: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410, 1.2GHz quad-core
Memory: 1GB RAM
Storage: 8GB intnal storage (up to 32GB via microSD)
OS: Android 4.4 (MIUI 6.0 an Apple-like Android UI)
The Xiaomi Red Mi 2 smartphone is an okay phone if you are looking for an entry level smartphone and working on a tight budget. The dual-SIM capability is a strong plus, and the LTE connectivity will be a big win among low-budget consumer looking for a fast browsing phone. From the surface, the Red Mi 2 might appear as an instant hit, and at just $160 it is going to entice many entice many.
Looking at the Mi 4’s body design, it is easy to see a lot of resemblance with the iPhone 5 by Apple, won’t you agree? Look at the front-and-back plainness with a metallic trim running around its edges. I would say this is one of the evidence that Xiaomi might be mirroring Apple’s designs. That’s a trademark issue between Apple and Xiaomi, and not ours.
So the following are Geek Savanna outlook on what the Mi 4 smartphone tacks away under the hood:
Displays: 1,920 x 1,080 IPS LCD screen
Processor: Snapdragon 801 Processor
Memory: 3GB RAM
Storage: 16GB internal (expandable to 64GB by microSD)
Operating System: Android 4.4 with the Xiaomi MIUI 5.0 UI
Camera: 13MP & 8MP rear & front camera with Sony sensors
You might want to know there are two versions of the Mi 4 smartphone, the 16GB, and the 64GB internal storage capacity. The 16GB comes with 3G connectivity while the 64GB also has the LTE connectivity.
If you have been salivating after an iPhone…ahem… the Mi 4 is your best shot at owning an iPhone at just $320. Please note the Xiaomi MIUI 5.0 skin running on top of the Android 4.4 give the phone a very iOS feel, some even say it gives the users a better experience than the actual iOS on an iPhone.
Both these smartphones will be retailing in South Africa come September 2015. The Red Mi 2 going for R2,000 and the Mi 4 for R4,000. Let’s see how Xiaomi fairs in the African market, and let’s also be on the lookout on how device makers with a presence already in the market will react to this new entrant.