Delhi witnessed the first ever ‘Global Launch’ by Xiaomi, a China-based smartphone and software company, at the Siri Fort Auditorium on Thursday, April 24. The event, called ‘i IS COMING’ was a big leap for the brand, as it was their first ever launch event outside China. A smartphone and a fitness band were launched by Xiaomi.
The event was scheduled to start at 4:00 pm, with registrations starting from 2:30 pm. I took a comfortable margin to reach an hour in advance. Upon reaching, I found that many others had taken a much more comfortable margin. There were two queues running into a few kilometers, on both sides of the road. 1000 attendees were expected.
“We wanted to accommodate as many Xiaomi fans as possible, and therefore wanted a large seating hall. This is the largest auditorium we could find and it’s also filled to capacity,” said Xiaomi’s International Vice-President, Hugo Barra. The event saw Xiaomi’s founder and CEO, Lei Jun, and co-founder Bin Lin in attendance, along with Xiaomi India’s Head of Operations, Manu Jain, along with their entire Indian team.
The grand scale of the event was visible from outside the venue. Hundreds of people waited patiently for the gates to open. Some of them missed office, and some bunked school to be there. “I took a train and traveled all the way from Ludhiana to Delhi, to attend this event. I will be going back to Ludhiana after this,” informed Samar, a 28-year-old engineer.
If you haven’t heard about Xiaomi yet, you might be living under an anti-technology shell. This 5-year-old smartphone manufacturer is now making sure it gets noticed. As a part of that plan, Xiaomi has started focusing on other markets, especially its second-largest market in the world, India. The company is the top ranked smartphone manufacturer in China, and globally it takes the fifth slot, shipping around 61 million devices in 2014.
Xiaomi launched two new devices, Mi4i, a smartphone and Mi Band, a fitness band. These products would be available first in India, and then will be taken to the other markets, such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia etc.
The Mi4i powered by a Snapdragon 615 64-bit processor supports 8 Indian languages now, including Hindi, Bangla, Telugu, Tamil, and is a smartphone “made for India”, said Barra. The phone has a unibody, polycarbonate built and weighs just 130 grams.
In a slim frame of 78mm, it sports a 5-inch Full-HD, 441 pixels per inch display which helps sharper reproduction of images. The matte-finish back panel is smudge-resistant and the screen is toughened glass. Mi 4i sports a 13 megapixel, f/2.0 camera at the back and the front shooter is 5 megapixels, f/1.8 with a proprietary ‘beautify’ mode which according to the company removes skin blemishes and makes a person look beautiful.
The phone also has a new feature called ‘Sunlight Display’, which maintains screen visibility in harsh light areas. The battery is 3150 mAh, which the company claims to get on with a day and a half of regular usage. “The battery itself is a big differentiator of Mi4i and other flagship smartphones. Mi4i’s battery has at least 38 percent more capacity than any other 5-inch devices,” said Barra. The phone has dual-sim support with 4G-LTE.
The launch event saw a lot of comparisons to Apple’s iPhone. While demonstrating Mi4i’s pressure tests, Barra remarked that Xiaomi phones are built to withstand a lot of pressure. “These phones are pushed with a force, after which they retain their normal shape without getting bent. I think some companies are not doing this test, hence their phones get bent,” said Barra amid huge applause and cheer from the audience. Mi4i is priced at Rs. 12,999, almost 9-10 thousand rupees cheaper than its closest competitor, HTC Desire 826.
The MiBand was a surprise launch at the event. The fitness tracker band pairs to a Xiaomi smartphone and records the sleep and workout habits of the wearer. It’s a waterproof device, and would retail at Rs. 999.
The company also announced that it would start taking orders on its official website now, along with additional e-commerce partners. The Mi4i phone and the MiBand fitness tracker would be available from April 30 in India and from May in other countries.
A full review of Xiaomi MiBand coming up soon. Stay tuned.
Photos from the event: