Watch out Apple, Qualcomm, Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi is getting all set to launch a smartwatch and a mobile processor. The launch schedule of the company’s MI smartwatch will be announced on May 10.
Co-founder & Vice-President, Xiaomi, Liu De confirmed that a smartwatch is indeed being developed and will be launched this year, during a media interaction in Beijing. However, he remained tight-lipped on all other details pertaining to the device.
Xioami’s smartphones run on Google’s Android operating system and it is very likely that its smartwatch too will be based on the company’s Android Wear platform.
Xiaomi already has its presence in the wearables segment with its Mi Band. The upcoming mobile processor is tentatively titled, Rifle.
Smartwatch for Kids
Last week, Xiaomi launched a smartwatch for kids in China – Mi Bunny. Priced at approximately Rs 3,000, the wrist gadget has tons of features that let parents keep track of their children. The watch is now available on Mi.com.
According to a company press release, some of the highlight features of the Mi Bunny smartwatch include GPS connectivity along with Glonass and Wi-Fi. The smartwatch supports voice calls and comes with an embedded SIM card.
The device can store up to 6 family members’ numbers and communicate with them free. Xiaomi states that when the child is not around; the family members can interact through the app. The smartwatch can make or receive calls from family members through just one tap.
According to an NDTV.com review, some of the additional features of the Mi Bunny smartwatch include an SOS button for panic situations where a distress signal is sent to parents; calls from strangers are rejected automatically, and the smartwatch is also waterproof.
The device also tracks the quality of sleep of kids. The smartwatch app can automatic record daily activities and can record it continuously for three months.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that Cupertino (where Apple has its headquarters) is already starting to bow out of the number one space in the Thing-on-your-wrist market, according to Strategy Analytics, with its share in Q1 2016 down from 63 per cent last year to 52 per cent this year.
Xiaomi’s Smartphone Troubles
Despite this the excitement around unveiling this new device, Xiaomi’s problems in the smartphone category have not abated in the least. According to the latest IDC report, Xiaomi – and Lenovo – are no longer in the top five smartphone makers’ list.
According to the report, the two companies had been pushed out of fourth and fifth place by two lesser-known Chinese companies, Oppo and Vivo, when looking at shipments over the first quarter of 2016.
The latest IDC figures underscore a shakeup in the global smartphone market showing signs of saturation in many markets around the world, pressuring some of the well-known vendors.
The report says IDC suspects the main reason – apart from other factors like price – behind the fall of Xiaomi and Lenovo is consumer maturity. Consumers expect more features from smartphones, features which Lenovo and Xiaomi don’t excel at, at the moment.
Earlier, both companies had reasonably priced launched smartphones chock full of features that could compete with high-end smartphones offered by Apple and Samsung.
The smartphone market’s constant changes seem to mean that a company needs to be in the right place at the right time if it wants a phone to take off.
Based on IDC’s latest numbers and how the list has looked in the past, Samsung and Apple continue to occupy the top two positions, while the rest of the spots remain up for grabs.
Lenovo benefited with ASPs below US$150 in 2013, and Xiaomi picked up the mantle with ASPs below US$200 in 2014 and 2015.