Up-and-coming Chinese smartphone giants Xiaomi have unveiled two new phablets – a cross between a smartphone and a tablet – in a bid to take on the biggest iPhones on offer from Apple, such as the Apple iPhone 6 & 6 Plus
The Xiaomi Mi Note is lighter, thinner and shorter than the iPhone 6 Plus and at an exchange value of £244 is significantly cheaper than the equivalent iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
In 2014, Xiaomi became the third-biggest-selling phone firm in the world – a significant achievement for a company that was only founded in 2010.
The firm’s Mi Note is just 6.95mm thick and weighs only 161g or 5.7 ounces. It was unveiled alongside the Mi Note Pro, which boasts a quicker processor and a higher-res display and is set for future release. This will be available with a Snapdragon processor and a 4G chip and looks set to be priced at £350.
The company has been criticised in the past for demonstrating a lack of innovation, but it has hit back at critics, saying that it filed 665 international patents last year alone and thousands more look set to follow.
Its products are now the bestselling handsets in China – the biggest smartphone market in the world. In December 2014, it was given the title of being the world’s top technology start-up in terms of value after raising £708million of funding and achieving a $45 billion valuation, overtaking Uber, the taxi-booking app, which was valued at $40 billion.
The company’s revenues soared by 135 per cent between 2013 and 2014, reaching a pre-tax sales total of £7.8 billion. Over the same period, it saw a 227 per cent increase in the number of phones sold, reaching 61 million handsets.
The phones are widely available in Asian countries, but there is a question mark over whether they could achieve the same level of success in the UK, largely because most users in Britain get their phone as part of a contract deal rather than buying a handset upfront.