Xiaomi has announced the Mi A1, a new flagship smartphone which is targeted on the Indian market with the tagline of “created by Xiaomi, powered by Google. Xiaomi Mi A1 has a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, a metal body, and a dual-camera that includes a secondary telephoto lens for 2x zooming and shallow depth of field for portraits.
If that is sounds familiar, well, Xiaomi isn’t shy about it:
— Mi (@xiaomi) September 5, 2017
Like the near-the same Mi 5X announced for China in recent times, the Mi A1 has Qualcomm’s gradually more ever-present Snapdragon 625 processor — which we’ve found to strike a great stability between battery life and performance — and a moderately standard 3080mAh battery. The phone also charges over USB-C, unlike Xiaomi’s more budgetary offerings, and the company is even including a custom 380V charger that is designed to knob India’s frequent power spikes.
But the Mi A1’s has exclusive feature is its software: it runs on stock Android, not on MIUI layer, and is now a part of Google’s Android One program. Android One Program by Google announced three years before focusing on India as Google intended to codify the Android experience for low cost smartphones. It wasn’t a huge success for Google, but Google certainly wants to expand the program to a wider range of products to ensure that people continue to have access to the latest versions of its software updates and services.
By the end, the Mi A1 will also eligible for Android Oreo by end of the year, and Xiaomi says it will be “one of the first” phones to get Android P — which we haven’t heard much more about it— in 2018. Xiaomi’s has a strong brand presence in India that covered up to 17 percent of the Indian smartphones market from the last quarter, according to statistics from IDC, placing it second just behind Samsung’s 24 percent. The two most selling smartphones in that phase Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4, helping the company to boost its sales 328 percent every year.
The Mi A1 is more expensive than other Mi phones, starting at 14,999 rupees ($234) for a 64GB model with 4GB of RAM, but it’s less than half the price of other smartphones like the OnePlus 5 or a quarter the price of an iPhone 7 Plus. It won’t be a top seller product for the company, but it represents an exciting high-class move for the Android One program and a potentially convincing combination of software, hardware, and affordable price.
Outside India, Xiaomi is releasing the Mi A1 in more than 13 countries in Asia, ten in Europe, ten in the Middle East and Africa, and four in Central and South America. It’ll be available on September 12th.