Xiaomi

Xiaomi

Xiaomi said to be releasing its own processor, “Pinecone”, within a month

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Xiaomi is ready to introduce its own line of processors, a series which will go by the name “Pinecone”, according a report from The Wall Street Journal.  The Chinese manufacturer may deliver the new chip within the month alongside its upcoming handset, the Xiaomi Mi 5c.

We first heard news of Xiaomi developing its own chips in mid-2015 when the vice president of processor manufacturer Leadcore announced a partnership with Xiaomi to help it design them. This would make Xiaomi only the second Chinese smartphone manufacturer, after Huawei, to produce its own processing units.

The move could help Xioami better integrate its hardware and software, as the company is currently at the mercy of Qualcomm and MediaTek for its chipsets, like many smaller Android manufacturers. Developing its own processors gives Xiaomi the opportunity to diversify its phones and make them stand out others in the crowded Chinese market.

However, another benefit would come from cutting costs: Xiaomi no longer has to rely on doing business with third-parties.

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Xiaomi launches special edition ‘Hatsune Miku’ Redmi Note 4X

2 days ago

Other manufacturers who have successfully implemented their own chips include market leaders Samsung with its “Exynos” processors and Apple with its “A” range.

That initial investment in resources and infrastructure will have likely have been significant for Xiaomi, but if it proves successful, it will bring the company another big step closer towards the top dogs.

Xiaomi launches special edition ‘Hatsune Miku’ Redmi Note 4X

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Xiaomi took the wraps off the Redmi Note 4X Hatsune Miku limited edition smartphone in China today. Based on the information the company shared with the public, the newly announced smartphone is identical to the Redmi Note 4 (Indian version) but will appeal to all fans of the Japanese hologram pop star.

The company will announce pricing details closer to launch, which is scheduled for February 14. We do know some specs though: 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 625, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of expandable storage. There’s a 4,100 mAh battery and a 13MP/5MP camera combo with a fingerprint scanner on the back.

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Xiaomi Mi Note 2 review

2 days ago

The special edition Hatsune Miku Note 4X will be available in a quite a few different colors including Hatsune Green, Champagne Gold, Matte Black, Cherry Powder, and Platinum Silver. Strangely, this version of the Note 4X doesn’t match up with some rumored high-end specs for a device with that same name.

Xiaomi has partnered with Crypton Future Media, the creator of Hatsune Miku, to launch the device. Customers who purchase the special edition smartphone will also get a Hatsune Miku branded case for the device as well as a limited edition Mi power bank with the purchase.

As already mentioned, more details regarding the smartphone will be revealed on Valentine’s day, February 14.

Xiaomi wants to be the top smartphone vendor in India in 3-5 years

It looks like Xiaomi wants to be the top dog in India. In a recent interview with The Economic Times, Xiaomi India head Manu Jain said that the company’s goal is to become the biggest smartphone manufacturer in terms of sales in India within the next 3 to 5 years.

In order to achieve its goal, the Chinese manufacturer will have to ramp up production in the country. Xiaomi already has a manufacturing plant set up in India, which is located in Sri City in Andhra Pradesh but plans on opening more. Manu Jain mentioned that Xiaomi wants to open one or maybe even two factories that will allow the company to double or triple its production capacity.

Additionally, Xiaomi has high hopes for its Redmi Note 4 smartphone, that started selling in India a couple of weeks ago. The company wants to sell 7 million units this year. For comparison, its predecessor, the Redmi Note 3, is currently the best selling online smartphone in the country with sales of 3.6 million units in just 10 months. The Redmi Note 4 has proven to be quite popular among consumers so far, as Xiaomi managed to sell 250,000 units in just 10 minutes during its first flash sale in India.

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Xiaomi won’t attend Mobile World Congress 2017

2 weeks ago

India is a very important market for smartphone manufacturers. In the last three years, smartphone sales have tripled in the country to 120 million in 2016. The market will continue to grow and is expected to double in size in terms of sales by the year 2020.

Xiaomi has been doing well in India. Last year, it doubled its smartphone sales and for the first time generated more than $1 billion in revenue. Despite its success, not everyone is happy with the company and its products. As already reported, some users have been complaining about poor after-sales support and lack of spare parts, among other things.

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

It would be an understatement to say that consumer tech is experiencing something of a renaissance right now, particularly when it comes to smartphones. Everything is becoming slimmer, sleeker and continuously more powerful. Meanwhile, we no longer have to break the bank to stay on the bleeding edge; smaller (and/or lesser known) tech manufacturers (many of which are located in Asia) are on the rise, bringing with them a selection of impressive devices that are every bit as powerful as those made by the industry’s darlings but at a fraction of the cost.

We saw a number of great devices over the course of 2016. The Samsung S7 series remains one of the most popular and highly-recommended devices, while HTC released one of its best smartphones ever in the HTC 10, despite its lackluster sales. However, many of the year’s most successful devices came courtesy of OEMs that are less familiar to many of us in the west, from brands including Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, and ZTE.

With Samsung and Apple both seeing market shares taking a dip in 2016, it’s possible that one of these growing OEMs are well positioned to take a meaningful challenge to the big two. Perhaps one of these smaller OEMs could even become the next Samsung or Apple?

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Best low cost Android phones

2 weeks ago

What do 2016 sales tell us?

When you look at the best-selling smartphones of 2016 in the United States, you’ll notice that most of them aren’t very surprising; the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and S7 take first and second place respectively, while the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, Google Pixel, and Pixel XL round out the remainder of the top six. Lenovo’s Moto Z places seventh and the HTC 10 is (somewhat amusingly) in tenth place. The “underdogs” of the list are ZTE Axon 7 in eighth place and the OnePlus 3T in ninth place.

Despite OnePlus’ reputation as a bit of an underdog, the company has curated a significant following in the west, especially when it comes to tech enthusiasts. Meanwhile, ZTE has been hoping to make headway in the west and 2016’s Axon 7 has certainly got the company headed in the right direction. However, Huawei and Xiaomi — which are, respectively, the third and fifth best-selling OEMs globally — have yet to gain traction in the US. It’s worth noting, too, that representatives of both Huawei and Xiaomi have stated they intend to be more competitive in western markets in 2017 and beyond.

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

While Samsung and Apple have seen their market shares fall this year, Huawei, OPPO, and vivo are gaining. Source: IDC

Oppo — the fourth best-selling OEM in the world — has been experiencing some of the most impressive growth rates of any tech manufacturer with current sales being up 145 percent for the current quarter. TCL Communication — most familiar as the Alcatel brand — is at number eight for global sales, having recently acquired the Palm brand from HTC and begun a hardware partnership with BlackBerry. India-based Micromax is in tenth place globally and is the only OEM from outside of China to show up in the top ten best-performing OEMs, Samsung and Apple notwithstanding.

One notable brand that has made intermittent quarterly appearances among the top ten global smartphone brands is Vivo. For example, during Q1 2016, China-based Vivo cracked the global top ten, landing in seventh place due to the release of the Xplay5 and Xplay5 Elite, the latter of which was the first phone ever to contain 6GB of RAM.

The two biggest global smartphone brands that aren’t charting in the United States are Huawei and Xiaomi. Beyond those two, Oppo, TCL/Alcatel, Micromax, and Vivo are four others that often chart globally.

To be clear, the fact that an OEM can be in the top ten globally yet absent from the US top ten is not a mistake. Although the United States is a major market, growth in China and India, in particular, has offered OEMs the opportunity to expand without necessarily having to compete in the US. For those brands on both lists — like Samsung and Apple — sales are strong both within the United States and abroad.

In case you’ve not been tallying, here’s where we are: The two biggest global smartphone brands that aren’t charting in the United States are Huawei and Xiaomi. Beyond those two, Oppo, TCL/Alcatel, Micromax, and Vivo are four others that often chart globally while not being very well-known in western markets. But which of these is/are best positioned for global success? Let’s take a closer look.

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

Huawei

It’s difficult to say whether Huawei could be considered an ‘up-and-comer’ for the very fact that the company is one of the top-selling smartphone brands in the world. However, the casual Android user in the United States is probably not familiar with Huawei, even though the China-based OEM released some really great hardware in 2016. Between Huawei and spin-off brand Honor, the company was responsible for the Huawei P9, Mate 8, Honor 8, Mate 9, and 2015’s Nexus 6P, which remained popular well into 2016 and is still a favorite among Android purists today. And even though we’re only a few weeks into 2017, Huawei shows no signs of slowing if the recently-released Honor 6X is any indication.

Perhaps the most compelling evidence that Huawei is on the cusp of global success is how quickly the company’s sales numbers have been climbing. According to Forbes, Huawei is seeing a 10 million increase year-on-year increase in quarterly sales, reaching a total of 140 million smartphone sales over 2016. By comparison, Samsung’s sales have, more or less, remained steady while Apple has actually been seeing a decline. Meanwhile, reviews of Huawei’s recent smartphones have been unanimously positive among major news outlets. As was the trend in 2016, Huawei’s strength seems to be in delivering premium specs and build while undercutting the high cost of competitors’ hardware.

On top of that, Huawei has been showing industry leadership qualities through its in-house Kirin processor development, camera advancements with Leica, and its partnership with Amazon’s open virtual assistant API to deliver the world’s first Alexa AI powered smartphone. Out of all the companies in our list, Huawei is certainly the closest rival to Apple and Samsung in terms of in-house innovations. We shouldn’t be surprised if Huawei becomes a recognizable and highly regarded brand in western markets.

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

Xiaomi

If Huawei would be the least surprising of our up-and-coming OEMs to achieve global success, Xiaomi — also based in China — would be the second-least surprising. Often called “the ‘Apple’ of China”, Xiaomi turned heads with the Mi Mix, which was the bezel-less concept smartphone everyone was drooling over when it was given a limited release in November. Aside from this glimpse into the very near future, Xiaomi had several solid releases in 2016, including the Xiaomi Mi 5, Redmi 3, and, later in the year, the Mi 5S and 5S Plus. Out of what so clearly was the kindness of their hearts, the company even gave us something to plug the Note7-shaped holes in our hearts with the Mi Note 2.

When it comes down to it, the main thing that’s keeping Xiaomi from becoming a major player in the United States is that the company has been building up its sales channels and collecting essential patents . Each of the devices mentioned above — minus the Mi Note 2 since the device is also targeted as business users — failed to get a US release, so unless you don’t mind your LTE coverage taking a hit due to missing bands, you probably wouldn’t want a Xiaomi device. However, the company might yet decide to target the untapped potential that the United States represents, at which point Xiaomi would undoubtedly become a force to be reckoned with.

We may be waiting a while for further expansion from Xiaomi though, as the company has recently stated that it has grown “too fast”. The company notes that it needs to slow down and focus on its existing markets in order to ensure sustainable growth in the long term. While Xiaomi was fast to rise, it’s looking like closing the gap on the big two is going to take more time.

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

Oppo

While not very well known in the United States, Oppo is huge in China and other Asian markets. In fact, smartphones are just one type of tech for which Oppo is known in China; the company is also respected for its Hi-Fi audio technologies as well as high-quality home theater systems and Blu-ray players. When it comes to smartphones, Oppo’s main 2016 releases — the Oppo F1 and R9s series’ — have been well-received and in fact saw the company double its Chinese market share last year.

However, we’re still waiting for an Oppo smartphone that really pushes the industry forward in the same way that Xiaomi’s Mi Mix is a push for smaller bezels or Huawei’s partnership with Leica is a push toward better smartphone photography. Furthermore Asia, particularly China, remains the only major market for Oppo. The company’s product portfolio doesn’t extend into North or Latin America, Europe, or the Middle East to anything like the extent of its Chinese sales. Instead, much of this job seems to have been left to its OnePlus sibling, which is also owned by BBK Electronics. While Oppo may be making huge strides in China, the rest of the world might be a harder sell.

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

TCL Communications

As previously stated, TCL Communications markets smartphones under the brand name Alcatel, which might be familiar due to the company’s sleeper hit in the Idol 4S. In fact, the Idol 4S was often favorably compared to the OnePlus 3, ZTE Axon 7, and the Honor 8 in terms of quality and bang for buck. Otherwise, 2016 was a quiet year for Alcatel despite having a new partnership with BlackBerry, which resulted in a few BlackBerry releases under the DKTEK moniker.

Obviously, we shouldn’t take the Idol 4S and DTEK50 as signs that Alcatel is about the become the next Samsung; however, the company has shown that it knows how to make an attractive, reasonably-capable budget device, and if 2016 showed us anything, it’s that “budget flagships” are revolutionizing the smartphone market. While these BlackBerry handsets have been a little underwhelming for some, striking the right business deals could help TCL grab some notable global market share in the future. When a $400-something phone can be among critics’ picks for the best smartphones of the year, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Alcatel could be our next up-and-comer. At the very least, it’s too soon to rule the possibility out completely.

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

Vivo

As a subsidiary of BBK Electronics, Vivo is a sibling of Oppo and OnePlus and is looking to break into regions outside of its Chinese home-market. In the US, Vivo has been pursuing some strategic partnerships with western brands and companies, including MTV and several blockbuster films. In India, the company is handily in the top five manufacturers and has managed to overtake many local OEMs thanks to an aggressive campaign that involved  higher payment for prominent display space and branding in stores, along with giving a larger cut to retailers.

If I were a gambling man,, my money would be on Vivo as the up-and-comer to watch as we move forward.

Despite having relatively little time in the smartphone market after being established in 2009, Vivo has proven to be very forward-thinking and boundary-pushing with the release of the Vivo X1 in 2012; at the time, the X1 was the world’s thinnest smartphone and the first smartphone to feature a Hi-Fi audio chip. Then in 2013, Vivo debuted the world’s very first QHD display on a smartphone with the Vivo Xplay 3s. And let’s not forget that Vivo was the first to put 6GB of RAM in a smartphone.

To date, Vivo’s sales have garnered the company an intermittent spot in the global top ten, but the company’s sales trend is definitely pointing upwards. The brand is increasingly looking like a force to be reckoned with in Eastern markets and the company’s attention is starting to turn to the West.

Micromax

Which up-and-coming OEM has the best chance for global success?

There’s something to be said for a company that can crack the top ten smartphone brands in the world despite the fact that said company only targets a handful of markets. India-based Micromax first started selling mobile phones in 2008 and has been one of the major smartphone manufacturers in the country, even rivalling Samsung for the top back spot in 2014.

However, more recently Micromax has seen its market share in India come under increasing pressure from low cost competition from China, which includes Oppo, vivo, and Lenovo. While there’s always the possibility that Micromax might expand its reach, it’s unlikely that Micromax will be anything more than a regional brand for the foreseeable future.

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Why you should be keeping a close eye on China in 2017

4 days ago

Wrapping up

Taking each company on its own merits, almost any of them could be the next global success for one reason or another. The Xiaomi Mi Mix shows us that Xiaomi could be the up-and-coming OEM that ushers us into the next era of smartphone technology. Similarly, Vivo has a history of cutting-edge innovation in the smartphone sector, so it could be just a matter of time before Vivo is a recognizable global brand. Oppo and Micromax are probably the least likely of the aforementioned OEMs to reach Samsung-like levels of success due to their narrow market reach and apparent lack of interest in emerging markets. However, Huawei has shown us that the company already has what it takes to be a global success.

Of all the OEMs mentioned, it’s quite clear that Huawei is closest to being the next Samsung; after all, the company is already third among the top ten best-selling OEMs in the world and only needs to accumulate a following in western markets. However, if I were a gambling man who wanted to place a somewhat riskier bet, my money would be on Vivo as the up-and-comer to watch as we move forward.

But now I want to hear from you. Which OEM do you think will be the next big global smartphone brand? Are there any OEMs not mentioned here that you think we should watch? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Xiaomi won’t attend Mobile World Congress 2017

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Mobile World Congress (MWC), the biggest event in the industry, is scheduled to kick off on February 27 in Barcelona. As every year, all the major players will be there including Samsung and LG, which will announce its new flagship the G6. We were also expecting that Xiaomi will attend MWC, but it now looks like that isn’t going to happen. According to a report from TechCrunch, the Chinese manufacturer will skip this year’s event.

This is strange to hear, as Xiaomi announced the Mi 5 during Mobile World Congress 2016. The company was also present in Barcelona the year before, when Hugo Barra, who recently left his position at Xiaomi and will now head Facebook’s Virtual Reality team, took the stage and shared more information regarding the up-and-coming company with the public.

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Xiaomi sells 250,000 Redmi Note 4s in 10 minutes in first India sale

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You’re probably wondering why exactly has Xiaomi decided to skip MWC 2017. The main reason might be that the company just doesn’t have any devices to announce in Barcelona and has therefore decided to stay away. This probably means that the upcoming Mi 6, which is rumored to make its debut soon, won’t see the light of day just yet. But this is just speculations for now, as Xiaomi hasn’t explained in detail why exactly it won’t be attending the show.

Xiaomi made a surprise appearance at CES earlier this month. When the company revealed it would attend the Las Vegas show, the general expectation was that the company would announce a full blown assault on the US market. Instead, we’ve got two devices that won’t even be made available in the States – a white version of the Mi Mix and an admittedly impressive new TV. With Hugo Barra out of the picture and a newfound appetite for restraint, it’s possible that Xiaomi is trying to slow down its international expansion in order to redirect resources to the ultra-competitive Chinese market.

Hugo Barra to lead Facebook’s Virtual Reality team

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This article originally appeared on our sister site, VR Source.

Ex Xiaomi Global Vice President Hugo Barra will join Facebook to lead its virtual reality endeavors. The announcement arrives via a Facebook post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg and follows just three days after Barra announced his resignation from Xiaomi.

“Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform,” wrote Zuckerberg. “They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future.”

The Facebook post included an animated image of Barra and Justin Timberlake Zuckerberg sitting side-by-side in what appears to be the Facebook offices. It features the same style as the digital avatars Facebook showed off at its Oculus Connect conference last year.

“Hugo’s in China right now,” wrote Zuckerberg. “So here we are together in VR. It seems fitting.”

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Xiaomi admits growing too fast, no longer sharing yearly sales figures

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Barra previously worked at Google supporting its Android efforts before leaving to help build Xiaomi’s international reputation from Beijing. He joined in 2013, in a year which saw Xiaomi sell an estimated 18.7 million smartphones. In 2015, Xiaomi confirmed 70 million smartphone sales.

Announcing his split with Xiaomi, Barra said the “singular environment” had taken a huge toll on his life and health and that he wanted to be back in Silicon valley near family and friends.

Chinese manufacturers’ market share in India grew exponentially in Q4 2016

Ramesh NG

India – boasting more than 300 million smartphone users now – is a lucrative market for every major smartphone manufacturer. That’s why companies like Samsung, VIVO, Huawei, and Xiaomi are fiercely competing one another to bring attractive devices without sacrificing affordability. And judging by Counterpoint’s latest data on the Indian smartphone market, Chinese OEMs are doing very well. For the first time ever, in Q4 of last year, no Indian brand figured among the top five smartphone makers; instead, the list was dominated by Chinese manufacturers.

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Samsung to focus on smartphones with large screens in India

6 days ago

Counterpoint has released some interesting data about the world’s second largest smartphone market – India. Compared to the 3 percent growth that the global smartphone market saw, smartphone shipments in India grew by 18 percent. Among those smartphones, 7 out 10 were LTE enabled. Not too surprisingly, Samsung maintained the lead overall with 25 percent market share, followed by companies like Micromax, Lenovo, and Intex. Apple has been struggling to find ground in India, and although it did ship 2.5 million devices in 2016, it still remained 10th place.

What’s interesting is, however, the rate at which Chinese manufacturers are growing in India. Just a year ago or so, during Q4 of 2015, Chinese brands were merely 14 percent of all smartphone shipments in India. That’s trivial compared to 54 percent of Indian brands during the same period. However, in Q4 of 2016, for the first time ever, Indian brands were pushed out of top five rankings. Instead, the list was comprised of Samsung, VIVO, Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Oppo. And the total shipments by Chinese brands jumped to a whopping 46 percent during Q4 of last year!

Just a year ago or so, during Q4 of 2015, Chinese brands were merely 14 percent of all smartphone shipments in India.

Chinese manufacturers are actively engaging in marketing that works within the local context – such as flash sales online – and they seem to be working closely with the government in the Make in India initiative. With luxurious designs and cheap price tags, Chinese OEMs are slowly dominating the Indian smartphone market. Though we will have to wait and see, it may not be too long until Samsung is dethroned by a Chinese manufacturer in India.

Xiaomi sells 250,000 Redmi Note 4s in 10 minutes in first India sale

Xiaomi has sold 250,000 Redmi Note 4 units in 10 minutes during its first flash sale in India. The device was made available at 12 noon yesterday via Flipkart and mi.com and won’t be on sale again until next week.

The Redmi Note 4 has big boots to fill as its predecessor, the Redmi Note 3, is India’s most purchased online phone; it achieved more than 2.3 million sales in roughly six months last year.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 starts at Rs 9,999 (~$147) for the 2 GB RAM + 32 GB storage model, while you’ll pay Rs 10,999 (~$162) for 3 GB + 32 GB storage. The top-end variant costs Rs 12,999 (~$190) and comes with 4 GB RAM + 64 GB of internal storage space.

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Hugo Barra to leave Xiaomi and return to Silicon Valley

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The device launched in three colors but only the grey and gold variations were available in the first sale. The matte black variant may be introduced in the next sale, which begins at noon on January 30 on Flipkart or perhaps at Xiaomi’s Mi Store sale on February 3.

Are you eager to get your hands on the Redmi Note 4? Give us your thoughts on it in the comments.

Hugo Barra to leave Xiaomi and return to Silicon Valley

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After working as the Vice President of Product Management for Android at Google for five years, Hugo Barra decided it was time for a new challenge. So in 2013, he packed his bags and moved to Beijing to join Xiaomi. He took on the role of the Vice President of International at the company, which he is now apparently leaving behind. Hugo Barra took to Facebook to announce he is leaving Xiaomi and moving back to Silicon Valley.

In a lengthy post, Mr. Barra wrote that his time at Xiaomi was the greatest and most challenging adventure of his life. He mentioned that with his help, Xiaomi has expanded its operations from China to more than 20 markets around the world, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, and Poland, among others. The company also reached a new milestone in India, as its revenues in the country topped $1 billion last year.

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Xiaomi admits growing too fast, no longer sharing yearly sales figures

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Barra also talked about the toll his work at Xiaomi took on his health and personal life.

But what I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.

Hugo Barra will officially leave his position at Xiaomi in February after Chinese New Year. He will then take some time off before heading back to Silicon Valley. For now, he hasn’t shared any info regarding new projects he will be working on once he gets back to California.

In a comment to Barra’s Facebook post, Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin (pictured above) thanked him for his work and revealed that Barra would remain involved with Xiaomi as an “advisor.” Hugo Barra’s job at Xiaomi will be taken over by Xiang Wang, a Senior Vice President with the company.

Will ‘bezel-less’ be the big smartphone design trend of 2017?

Throughout the past few years, many smartphone makers have decided to go the “bigger is better” route in terms of smartphone design. Samsung and other companies started introducing phones with 5-inch displays a few years ago, which was considered by many users and critics to be too big for people to handle. Nowadays, we see 5-inch displays starting to become the baseline for smartphones, with 5.5-inch and 5.7-inch screens becoming more and more common. We have also seen phones go even higher, up to 6.4-inches for the recently-launched Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.

However, in the race for bigger screens, there also comes a time where the smartphones themselves are also getting bigger as a result. Many people might resist putting in a phone with a display bigger than 5.7-inches simply because they cannot comfortably handle them in their hand or put them in their pants pocket.

It would appear that 2017 could see smartphone companies come up with a solution that promises to offer large displays without increasing the overall bulk of the phone. That solution: bezel-less smartphones.

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Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

November 16, 2016

A look back, and a look forward

Will ‘bezel-less’ be the big smartphone design trend of 2017?

Near bezel-less screens on phones are nothing new, of course, even though they haven’t made their way to the mainstream quite yet. We first started seeing an influx of bezel-less phones pop up a few years ago, from companies like OPPO and Sharp. Then in 2015, Samsung introduced the (sort of) bezel-less Galaxy S6 Edge to the masses. While the S6 Edge may have only featured little-to-no bezel on the left and right sides of the device, the top and bottom still featured as much bezel as you’d see on any other smartphone. Later in the year, the S6 Edge+ came to market with a similar design language, and 2016’s S7 Edge did the same.

Now, we’re beginning to see some evidence that the near-to-no bezel design is about to break into the mainstream. Xiaomi launched its Mi MIX concept phone in late 2016 in China, which almost got rid of bezels on the top, left and right sides entirely. This got a huge response worldwide, even though the phone itself is not slated to be made available outside of its native country. Xiaomi even went so far to launch an all-new White color variant at CES 2017, hinting that this bezel-less phone project isn’t just a one-off thing.

We're now seeing some evidence that bezel-less phones might actually break into the mainstream

Xiaomi’s bezel-less phones aren’t the only ones making headlines lately. The Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor mill has been in full force over the past few weeks, and one of the more interesting rumors to appear recently is this new purported image of the Galaxy S8’s display shell. If this leak turns out to be real, the S8 will have basically no bezel on its left and right sides. This would appear to be yet another change for the Galaxy S lineup, but it’s also something of an evolution for the phones, as previous Galaxy S models have been designed with smaller bezels.

The Galaxy S8 might have some competition in this space, though. Rumors about the upcoming LG G6 seem to suggest it won’t have much of a bezel for its display, either. The screen is also supposed to have an 18:9 aspect ratio, compared to the normal 16:9 format. That means LG wants to have a different concept for the G6 display, and combining a taller screen with not much bezel could make for a very interesting look for the phone overall.

In addition, the mysterious phone that’s being developed by a startup headed by Android founder Andy Rubin is also rumored to have an edge-to-edge display. Rubin’s company is rumored to be called Essential and this new phone is supposed to be its flagship device, one of a family of connected home and mobile products. Obviously, Rubin has a lot of experience in the Android market, so if he thinks an edge-to-edge display on a smartphone is a good idea, it probably is.

Reports are also coming in that at least one model for Apple’s iPhone 8 could launch with a larger curved screen, which may get rid of most of the bezel borders. The rumors center on how Apple wants to use OLED screens in the iPhone 8, with some reports claiming that the company will launch a high-end 5.8-inch version with a wraparound display. We still have several months before the iPhone 8 launches, so it’s possible Apple could stick with its 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models for the next iPhone. However, the prospect of an edge-to-edge display for a premium iPhone already has Apple fans pumped up.

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Galaxy S8 or LG G6: which are you most looking forward to?

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All of these devices with their near bezel-less designs have yet to be confirmed, of course, so there’s no way of telling if the majority of the most popular smartphones will launch with this design cue or not. We’ll ultimately need to wait until each one of these devices are officially announced, but there does seem to be quite a bit of proof that “bezel-less” will be the big design trend of 2017.

What prompted this trend?

Will ‘bezel-less’ be the big smartphone design trend of 2017?

You may be wondering, why has this trend started in the first place? While many of us love the extra real estate offered up by big-screened smartphones, that usually comes at a price. Phones with big screens are also big and unwieldy in the hand, making them difficult to hold most of the time. Now that many consumers are used to having a phone with a display larger than 5 inches, it only makes sense that keeping a big screen size without increasing the size of the phone itself is a plus for everyone. People are used to big-screened smartphones now, and we think everyone can agree that a smaller chassis on these phones would certainly be welcomed.

We think everyone can agree that a smaller chassis on big-screened phones would certainly be welcomed

Smartphone displays are continuing to evolve, too. They’re tougher and more resilient compared to a few years ago, which means we can do more with them. Many high-end smartphones now also feature OLED screens, which are thinner than LCD screens, meaning they can be more easily utilized for curved or wraparound smartphone displays.

At this point in time, the move to ditch the bezel looks like it will be the next smartphone display trend, and by 2018 we may see many more smartphone makers offering those kinds of models in their flagship phones. In fact, this trend may even extend to new mid-range phones by next year as well if it is successful on the higher end.

Does getting rid of bezels work for you?

Whether or not you’re ready for it, we think bezel-less (or at least near bezel-less) smartphones are on their way to the mainstream.

Are you interested in trimming down the bezel on your smartphone, or are you happy with the extra room for handling? Also, would you rather smartphone makers focus on features like resolution, brightness and lower battery use rather than making them bezel-less? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!