Lei Jun, the co-founder, and CEO of Xiaomi just traveled to India recently along with many other executives, for the opening of their new headquarters in India. During an interaction with the media at Xiaomi’s new Indian Headquarters at Bangalore, he shared his thought regarding how Xiaomi is planning to disrupt the market, how the company is expanding its offline presence and many other things.
First of all, he talked about the demand of Redmi phones running stock Android and he said that as many of the Mi Fans love stock Android, he has planned to bring more Redmi Phones into the Indian market, under the Android One program. So, it is quite obvious that we will see the Mi A2 soon, suggested by the rumors that the Mi 6X, which has been launched in China recently will arrive in India as Mi A2 running stock Android.
Xiaomi CEO also acknowledged the issues with products getting out of stock very fast and being mostly unavailable, Mr. Jun cleared this by saying that Xiaomi doesn’t consider the ‘out of stock’ label as a medal of honor and the company is working hard to meet the demands. He specifically pointed out that Xiaomi is finding it tough to fulfill the demand of two of its latest products- the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi TV 4.
He also pointed out they Xiaomi has ramped up the production capacity by three times in the last one year, but with Redmi Note 5 Pro, there is a supply issue with a ‘light assorting chip’ which is part of the camera module on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. He also said that demand for RAM has increased a lot and crypto-mining is making the situation worse.
At this point, Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi India Head and Global VP added that all products except the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi TV 4 are on open sale and have no availability issues. He also added they Xiaomi is using machine learning to keep away resellers. While he was asked about the premium amount that some Mi Preferred partners and resellers are charging, Manu said that Xiaomi is cutting off the relationship with such dealers.
Mr. Jun is hopeful regarding manufacturing plants for televisions in India and he said that Xiaomi is now paying 20% import duties, so setting up plants for manufacturing televisions in India will help them.
While he was asked an obvious question regarding how tough it is for Xiaomi to sell phones that are priced above Rs. 15,000, he didn’t even try to avoid it and reply in a straightforward way, he said,
“We are still in our fourth year of operations in India. We have managed to be successful in five categories – Redmi 4A/5A (Rs 6,000), Redmi 4/5 (Rs 7,000 ~ Rs 10,000), Redmi Note 5/Pro (Rs 10,000 ~ Rs 15,000), Redmi Y1 (< Rs 10,000) and Mi A1 (< Rs 15,000). We want to take this step by step. We want to only introduce products which will be a hit in the Indian market. In the next two years, we want to have successful products in < Rs 20,000, < Rs 30,000 and Rs 30,000+ categories.”
And he explained why Mi Mix and Mi Mix 2 didn’t sell well when compared to other phones from Xiaomi. He pointed out that many people demand phones like the ones OnePlus brings, and in the case of OnePlus a lot of the features are decided specifically for India, whereas the Mi Mix wasn’t designed specifically for India and hence, Xiaomi will try to bring some premium phones focused towards India, and he joked saying that probably he won’t have to answer to this question next year.
Question regarding the latest design trends was thrown at Mr. Jun and he was asked about the idea of having a notch on a smartphone. And he replied,
“Somehow the media in China doesn’t like the idea of the notch on display. What do you think? It’s indeed a very high-pressure move for all smartphone vendors. People want a full-screen display, but we need to make space for camera, sensors, etc. There is no perfect solution yet.”
He also talked about Xiaomi’s plan for offline expansion, he seemed to be quite happy with the present data as, according to IDC, Xiaomi has 11-12% share in the offline market right now. He said that though the figure is not as good as 56% share in the online smartphone market, he assumes that Xiaomi would be able to capture 30% of the offline market by next year.
Huawei will be Allowed to do Trade with US Companies!
The US ban on Huawei has taken a new turn. President Trump today announced in a news conference that U.S. companies will be allowed to work with the Chinese manufacturer again. This is a surprising turnaround that came just weeks after the Trump administration banned Huawei calling it a major threat to U.S national security.
Trump in the G20 Osaka said “U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei” without specifying much. He continued “We’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it”. Its not clear to what extent Huawei can do business with the U.S. companies, but it will likely to be able to acquire basic components like Qualcomm chipsets and Google’s Android OS.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the current US president said
I said that’s O.K., that we will keep selling that product, these are American companies that make these products. That’s very complex, by the way. I’ve agreed to allow them to continue to sell that product so that American companies will continue.
He further shared his view on the company
Huawei is very much in play in terms of our country and in terms of intelligence and the intelligence community — we know a lot about Huawei — but I don’t want to mention that right now. I just think it’s inappropriate. We’re not making it other than what I told you… We’re going to save that for later.
Huawei has been a major player in buying equipments from US companies. Last year, the company spent around $11 billion on chipsets from Intel, Qualcomm and Micron alone. A report from Reuters said Intel and Xilinx discussed with the U.S commerce Department to ease restrictions on Huawei. Earlier this week WSJ reported that China would make the lifting of the Huawei sanctions an essential condition for any trade agreement with United States.
As for now, Huawei is still listed on the so called “Entity List” of companies that are banned from dealing with American entities by the U.S. Department of the Commerce. A formal decision is yet to be made while discussions between U.S and China are ongoing. Trump did mention that Huawei is still a security risk in the eyes of the U.S. government.
The US and the Chinese government seemed to have found a common ground in the trade war. The latest round of tariffs that were due to go into effect in the next few days have been suspend while Chinese government agreed to purchase more agricultural products from the country. Trump on the matter said
We had a very good meeting with President Xi of China, excellent, I would say excellent, as good as it was going to be. We discussed a lot of things and we’re right back on track and we’ll see what happens.
After the announcement today, Huawei may be back in business in a few days. The company reportedly stockpiled critical components before the ban in mid-May that would allow operating for up to three months. However, the losses occurred due to the ban will be irreversible. The company said its revenue will be $30 billion below estimates. Huawei was projected to take the first place in the smartphone market next year beating Samsung, but now it may take much longer.
As for the customers and fans, the news should be a relief. This means Huawei and Google may work together in the future to bring updates for its smartphones. We may also see the next Android Q in several upcoming Huawei devices.
Oppo unveils Under-Screen Camera & MeshTalk technology at MWC 2019 Shanghai
Earlier this month, Xiaomi and Honor revealed details of a camera technology that is embedded under the display. Now another Chinese manufacturer OPPO today unveiled its Under-Screen-Camera (USC) technology that aims to offer a “real full-screen experience” without any notch or punch-hole. A prototype with this technology was demonstrated at the MWC 2019 event.
OPPO Product Manager Qiao Jiadong said
From the water-drop screen to pivot structure, to USC technology announced today, OPPO has been exploring the best balance between ‘thin and light’ and ‘full screen’. OPPO hopes to provide users with the ultimate ‘true full screen’ through the USC technology.
With the Under-Screen-Camera (USC) technology, future OPPO phone users will get an immersive screen viewing experience along with other abilities like Face unlock, take photos and video calling. The company claims that the technology works with a customised camera module that sits under an enhanced translucent panel to capture images from the display panel. The customised camera module is claimed to capture more light using a zoning control feature. With the highly transparent material, more light is transmitted through the screen.
Along with the hardware, the camera further uses algorithms such as haze removal, HDR and white balance to fix the image issues occurring on the under-display sensor. OPPO touts that this technology will give users a “complete photography experience”. There are also plans to support more features such as smart beauty mode and photo filters in the future.
OPPO also announced its MeshTalk technology that allows voice calling and messaging even without any Wi-Fi or cellular network within three kilometres. The proprietary decentralised communications technology can enable transmission of texts, voice messages, real-time voice calls between OPPO devices. The technology can also make an Local Area Network (LAN) using multiple devices and enable group chats as well as expand communication range via a signal relay. The company made modifications in the communication chipset to make way for this technology. This will surely come handy in extreme environments and emergency situations.
OPPO didn’t mention anything about the arrival of smartphones with the USC and MeshTalk technology. The company is yet to open this technology for developers to build new applications and expand the features over time.
Huawei moves to trademark Hongmeng US. Already in testing by Tencent, Xiaomi, Oppo & Tencent!
The recent US move to blacklist Huawei Technologies Co. could backfire on US firms. Many manufacturers like Google, Qualcomm, and even Facebook has cut ties with the Chinese manufacturer. After the ban, the company claimed that its own OS has been in the works for years. Huawei is reportedly moving to trademark the name of the operating system “HongMeng” in Peru. Not only that, it is already being tested by major Chinese companies like Tencent, Xiaomi and OPPO.
According to a report from the Chinese newspaper Global Times, Huawei’s upcoming HongMeng OS is being tested by major Chinese companies. The newspaper which cites a source “close to a major Chinese carrier” said that major Chinese manufacturers “are actively working with Huawei to push forward the release of HongMeng OS, which also considered a major blow to the US-led crackdown”.
The US ban targeting a Chinese manufacturer may have created an opportunity for the manufacturers in the east to come together and make a common OS platform. This could largely affect the revenues of Android, which is owned by Google. Earlier this week, Huawei reportedly began inviting Google Play Store developers to publish their own apps on its own AppGalley app store. Now a trademark application for HongMeng was filed with Peru’s National Institute for the Defence of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) on May 27, as reported by Reuters.
As for HongMeng OS, the previous report claims that the new operating system is 60% faster than Android, which falls in the line with the previous claim by Huawei’s head of the smartphone’s business Richard Yu. There is no official report about HongMeng OS being tested by other manufacturers, and could simply be a PR battle between the US and China. But there is no doubt Huawei is moving ahead with its own smartphone OS, which doesn’t look good for Google from a business standpoint.
Source 1 | Source 2
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