Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun unveils Mi Mix Fold foldable smartphone at a virtual event on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
GUANGZHOU, China – Xiaomi launched its first foldable phone on Tuesday as it looks set to push further into the premium end of the smartphone market and challenge those like Samsung.
Mi Mix Fold has an 8.01
Other important features include:
- Four speakers made by Harman Kardon.
- A Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 mobile processor.
- 5G connection.
- Camera with triple lens.
Mi Mix Fold starts at 9,999 Chinese yuan ($ 1,521) and goes up to 10,999 ($ 1,673). A special edition phone with a special ceramic cover will be sold for 12,999 yuan ($ 1,978).
Xiaomi follows a number of smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung and Huawei, in the folding phone category.
Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, said lots of collapsible smartphones “reflect the pressure” from phone makers to differentiate between their premium devices.
“This is still a very experimental segment where Samsung is leading the charge, and it’s interesting to see all the different approaches from different actors,” Wood said.
“Collapsible is still an experimental niche. Although Xiaomi’s new device will generate a lot of interest, it’s still unclear how to take the design concept to mass market consumers. I expect more generations of experimentation.”
Xiaomi camera chips
Mi Mix Fold contains a camera chip called Surge C1, which was designed by Xiaomi. It is the Chinese company’s first image chip, and CEO Lei Jun claims that it “improves” the image quality of images taken with the collapsible device.
He talked about the possibility of taking pictures in low light.
Lei said Xiaomi has been working with chips since 2014. In 2017, the company launched the Surge S1, the first smartphone processor that was eventually used in a medium-sized device called the Mi 5C.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun unveils the company’s first camera chipset called the Surge C1, during an event on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. It will be shown on the company’s Mi Mix Fold smartphone.
Xiaomi joins the likes of Apple and Samsung to focus on chip design. While still using Qualcomm processors in its high-end phones, the launch of the Surge C1 highlights its ambitions in the semiconductor room.
The trade war between the United States and China has accelerated Beijing’s pressure to become more self-reliant on semiconductors. A number of Chinese technology companies, including Baidu and Alibaba, have focused on semiconductor design.
Xiaomi’s Lei suggested that more should come from the chip unit.
“We want to climb the high peak of innovative technologies … and we do not want to stop the exploration (of chips),” Lei said in Mandarin, according to an official English translation.
Xiaomi’s advanced printing
Xiaomi has made its name and grown by selling high-specific phones at low prices. But now it is pushing into the premium segment of the market.
Mi Mix Fold is part of that effort and follows the launch of Mi 11 Pro and Mi 11 Ultra on Monday.
Xiaomi now has smartphones priced from 3,299 yuan to 12,999 yuan, according to Lei.
It could help the company appeal to a wider range of users across different price segments in its bid to challenge Apple and Samsung, the two biggest smartphone players.
Xiaomi is trying to attract users with premium services that come with Mi Mix Fold. Buyers of the collapsible device will be able to enjoy benefits including cheaper screen repair for the first break and a dedicated customer service assistant.