Chinese tech firm Xiaomi announced a 47-inch, Wistron-built smart HDTV based on a Snapdragon 600 SoC priced at less than $500. The Xiaomi TV was announced along with a 5-inch Mi3 phone, which similarly runs a homegrown MIUI Android build on a Snapdragon 800 or Tegra 4 SoC, and offers a 13-megapixel camera.
On Sept. 5, Xiaomi showed off a new smart TV and a high-end Mi3 smartphone that both run a version of its MIUI Android derivative. The HDTV, called Xiaomi TV or MiTV by various sources, and shown as “Millet TV” in Xiaomi’s Google-translated web page, is the more significant product, if only for its price. The TV sells for 2,999 yuan ($490), which is several hundred dollars less than most similarly specified smart TVs, including Chinese smart TVs.
Xiaomi’s smart TV runs Android
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The recently announced Baidu smart TV, manufactured by TCL/Alcatel and priced at $740, runs Baidu’s own smart TV OS, which is most likely based on Android or Linux. China’s Alibaba is also prepping a smart TV with its own OS, also likely based on Linux.
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Built by Wistron, the Xiaomi TV is a follow-up to the Android-based Xiaomi Box media player (pictured on the right), which shipped earlier this year for $63. Available in six colors, the Xiaomi TV is notable for being only 8.4mm thick at its thinnest, ranging up to 4.8cm at its thickest, thanks to the LG or Sony supplied display panels.
Both the LG and Sony panels offer a 47-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display with 178-degree viewing angles, according to the company. The LG panel offers an IPS screen, whereas the Samsung screen provides SPVA technology. It’s unclear whether users will have a choice of display. The Xiaomi TV also supports 3D video, and ships with two pairs of 3D glasses, and the audio system supports DTS 2.0 and Dolby double decoding audio.
The TV runs the MIUI TV stack on a quad-core, 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 system-on-chip with an Adreno 320 GPU, backed up with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and 8GB of eMMC flash. An Ethernet port is provided, as well as dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) WiFi. The TV is said to support Miracast, Airplay, DLNA, and WiDi media streaming. A Bluetooth 4.0 radio supports accessories including game controllers.
Dual USB ports allow users to plug in a USB stick and play video using standard formats, including MKV, AVI, MP4, and MOV, says the company. Additional features include dual HDMI ports, as well as VGA, Composite A/V, audio out, and SPDIF ports. The TV ships with an 11-key remote.
Xiaomi MIUI TV screenshots
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The MIUI TV stack includes an app store, game store, and content search, among other features. The TV appears to run MIUI smartphone apps, which are used by some 20 million users in China. The company does not tout general Android application compatibility for the TV, however.
Xiaomi also showed off its Mi3 smartphone, which runs MIUI Android on one of two quad-core, Cortex-A15 SoCs, depending on the network. A 1.8GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 powers the model destined for China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA networks, while the 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 heads for China Unicom’s WCDMA network. Both models ship with a 5-inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS display sourced from Sharp or LG, touted for ultra-sensitive touch that supports gloved usage.
The Mi3 is further equipped with a 13-megapixel camera with a Sony iMX135 sensor, F2.2 sapphire lens and dual LEDs, as well as 2-megapixel front-facing cam. The phone ships with ships with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and is available with either 16GB of storage (1,999 yuan, or $330) or 64GB (2,499 yuan, or $410).
Xiaomi on the rise
Fast-growing Xiaomi (pronounced Shiao-Me) is lesser known outside China than more established consumer electronics stars like Lenovo, Huawei, and ZTE, but the company is working hard to remedy that. Even more so than other Chinese vendors, it is focusing on low-cost products. Xiaomi’s MIUI Android phones, including tis best-selling Xiaomi Phone 3, are said to outsell Apple’s iPhone in China.
Xiaomi’s executive staff is more international in scope than that of most Chinese vendors, and the company pulled off a major coup in late August, luring away Android VP Hugo Barra from Google. The company is also known for its extensive focus on user feedback in product development. Although growing at a rapid clip, Xiaomi is still small, however, representing just 5 percent of the smartphone market in China in the second quarter, according to Canalys as cited by the New York Times.
The Xiaomi TV and Mi3 smartphone will be available in China, starting in October. More information may be found in Xiaomi’s Xiaomi TV and Mi3 product pages, respectively (both links point to translated pages).