US customers might soon get access to their first Xiaomi smartphone. The fourth largest OEM has been eyeing a US launch for years, with rumors indicating a debut by Q1 2019. Now, it looks like the Mi 8 Anniversary Edition will be the first device.
If you haven't heard about Xiaomi, it is understandable. The Chinese manufacturer found much of its success in both its homeland and India, where it offers inexpensive flagships, great value budget devices, and everything in between. Their main lineup is the Mi series, which is mostly composed of flagship devices that have spec sheets to rival flagships from competitors at a much lower price.
Last year's model was the Xiaomi Mi 6. However, it looks like Xiaomi will skip the Mi 7 and jump to the Mi 8, as eight represents the number of years they have been in business. In celebrating this historic achievement, Xiaomi plans to release an Anniversary Edition alongside the Mi 8, and the specifications it is rumored to include are a sight to behold.
- Skin: MIUI 9.0
- OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- GPU: Adreno 630
- RAM: 6 or 8 GB
- Storage: 64 or 128 GB
- Display: 6.01" AMOLED 18:9 Display
- Resolution: 2160 x 1080
- Rear Cameras: Dual cameras with AI enhancements
- Biometrics: In-display fingerprint scanner and 3D facial recognition
- Battery: 4,000 mAh
- Other: Wireless charging, quick charging, water and dust resistance
The Synaptics-created technology first made its debut at CES 2018 with the Vivo X21 UD. With an in-display fingerprint scanner, there is no longer a need for a physical fingerprint scanner. It also allows for a front-mounted fingerprint scanner (which is preferred by many smartphone users) while continuing the push toward smaller bezels.
Slashleaks discovered a video supposedly showcasing the technology in the new Xiaomi Mi 8 Anniversary Edition. If true, this would be interesting, as rumors point to most major OEMs not getting this technology ready until 2019. If all goes according to plan, Xiaomi would be the only option for an in-display scanner until the rumored Nokia 9 arrives.
Use of the technology would also confirm the series' first use of an AMOLED display. Previous phones in the series used IPS LCD panels, which can't be used with an in-display fingerprint scanner because of the backlight required. The AMOLED panels are rumored to come from Samsung, so customers need not worry about inferior panels from LG.
It also looks like the Mi 8 Anniversary Edition will be the first phone to use a facial recognition technology that's comparable to Apple's Face ID. A leaked Weibo image shows what appears to be an infrared camera, along with other sensors needed for 3D facial recognition.
If this rumor is true, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Anniversary Edition would be a perfect alternative to the iPhone X. Not only will it have the benefits of facial recognition, but it will also provide the convenience of a fingerprint scanner (that is front-mounted), so users have the choice to decide which biometric they prefer. However, just like Face ID, there will be notch to house these sensors.
The only indication this will be the phone that finally brings Xiaomi to America is a recent FCC report discovered by 91mobiles. The phone was approved on May 30, 2018, and this FCC licensing is valid until the end of the year.
What makes this important is that the FCC only deals with technology involving US customers. The fact that Xiaomi filed for FCC approval is a solid indication that this might be the first US Xiaomi smartphone.
Xiaomi tweeted that the announcement date for the Mi 8 Anniversary would be May 31, but don't expect the US release date to be announced at the event. Xiaomi Chairman Lei Jun told Wall Street Journal that they "plan to start entering the market by the end of 2018, or by early 2019." Therefore, don't expect this device to arrive until then, as Xiaomi tries to secure deals with wireless carriers to carry their phones.
Xiaomi is one of the few brands which challenges the traditional model of smartphones. Instead of looking for crazy-high profit margins, Xiaomi aims for volume, selling devices much cheaper without sacrificing the spec sheet. Hopefully, Xiaomi can succeed where Huawei, ZTE, and LeEco have failed.
What do you think of the Mi 8 Anniversary Edition? Are you hoping this device makes its way to US shores? Have you imported their devices before? Let us know in the comments below.