According to the WHO report, 22 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities are in India, contributed significantly by industrial and vehicular exhaust.
Air purifier is one of the things people should really consider buying, but generally are very wary about it. There are a few reasons – One, It’s something you think you don’t need; Two, even if you make a mind to get one, its very expensive.
The biggest caveat of an Air Purifier is that, it is not visual, like a water purifier. Remember the advertisements that show you the dirty water, one purifies it and then drinks the same water. Well, it isn’t that easy with air. However, the Air pollution is really harmful and the adverse effects are measured in years. With water, at-least you have an option not to drink it and choose to drink something else; with air? well, you’re already in trouble!
A month ago, Xiaomi introduced its first smart home product to India, Mi Air Purifier 2. Priced at INR 9,999, Mi Air Purifier 2 is an intelligent product with smart features that make using it to clean the air simply effortless. I have been using this product for over a month now and I am definitely impressed.
The setup is simple. It’s just plug and play. This is the first ecosystem, home appliance product from Xiaomi in India. Most of these products are made by third party companies that Xiaomi invested in or partnered with. XIAOMI provides them the marketing, sales channel etc. The internal engineering team ensures that all the products feel consistent regardless of the 3rd party company they come from.
Mi Air Purifier 2 seamlessly connects to the cloud via Wi-Fi, enabled by the Mi Home app (Android and iOS), which acts as the central hub for a range of smart home products from Mi Ecosystem and other third-party companies. The app also tells you when to replace the filter. You don’t need to clean it yourself or rather, you can’t clean it completely.
The 360° cylindrical filter on Mi Air Purifier 2 takes in air more efficiently from every direction compared to conventional air purifiers. Its triple-layer design removes particles larger than 0.3 microns with a high-density EPA filter, while an activated carbon filter removes formaldehyde, bad odour and other harmful substances.
Mi Air Purifier 2 quickly removes PM2.5 particles, dust, indoor plant pollen, pet fur and more. With its high 310m3/h CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate), Mi Air Purifier 2 takes just 10 minutes to circulate purified air in a 21m2 room.
You could just brush off the dirt and dust from the pre-filter. For the internals, you may have to replace the filter.
It doesn’t make too much of noise. Vouching for it, it doesn’t make any noise at all in a relatively cleaner room, where the air quality is better. There is a buzzing sound when the fans are running on full throttle. But that stays for few minutes before it turns back to normal. The motor is extremely energy efficient with advanced aerodynamics to reduce noise and wind resistance, resulting in a noise level as low as 30dB in Night mode.
The intake is in the bottom side and the fans are blowing the fresh Clean air from the top.
The air purifier uses 4.8 watts and the energy consumption is low. To increase awareness about air pollution, Xiaomi has now become the first smartphone brand in India to integrate Air Quality Index (AQI) data — which also reflects the measurement of PM2.5 particles in the air — into its MIUI 8 Weather app.
People have a myth that, one you’re indoors, you breathe fresh air and air quality is fine. If you have or planning to buy an air purifier, we recommend you use them in the place where you spend most of your time. For some, bed room could be the most ideal one. The design of the product is kids and pets friendly; also stays stable and grounded. Ideally this should be placed on the floor. So do not use it on a table.
Being less expensive isn’t the only reason why we recommend this product; The build quality and companion mobile app are top-notch as well.
Summing up, This is a product that grows with you. I mean to say, you do not see a visual difference in your health immediately to say things had gone better. However, it would definitely make your lives better overtime. For people who would still rely on the numbers, the companion app does give you the metrics on how the Air quality has improved.
Xiaomi and China UnionPay, one of the world’s largest payment networks, jointly launched Mi Pay today, a revolutionary way to pay with Xiaomi smartphones in China.
Xiaomi also announced that it now supports public transportation cards from six cities. With this, Xiaomi becomes the first smartphone company in the world to support contactless payments through both bank and public transportation cards. Mi Pay will supports debit and credit cards from 20 banks to begin with.
Up to eight cards can be tied to any one device. Mi Pay users also get to benefit from promotions and rewards offered by the banks.
Users can simply add their China UnionPay and public transportation cards to the Mi Wallet app as shown below.
In stores, instead of having to swipe a card when making payment, users just have to hold their device near China UnionPay’s QuickPass-enabled POS terminals and the bank card details will popup. After fingerprint verification, the device is then activated and can be used as a bank card. This results in an extremely simplified payment process: users can complete their transactions just by holding their smartphone near the POS terminal with a finger on the fingerprint scanner.
Xiaomi uses NFC for Mi Pay. NFC has been there for a while now; Hopefully, this will help change the landscape of mobile payments and increase the adoptions.
Near-field communication is a set of standards for smartphones and other mobile devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters. – Wikipedia
Other than hardware-level security, Xiaomi has also incorporated multiple authentication mechanisms that protect user information in these scenarios: adding a bank card, smartphone theft or loss, and attempted fraud. For example, users have to be logged in to their Mi Account when they are adding a bank card, which ensures the safety of their personal data. For transactions, Mi Pay employs tokenization to protect plain text credit card information, and makes users verify their fingerprint for maximum security. If a device is lost, users can turn off Mi Pay through the official website, and find their device using Mi Cloud.
Mi Pay could help resolve the frauds w.r.t Mobile Payments and data breaches. This can also be a simple substitute to the 2 factor authentication and OTP as well.
This week, Xiaomi celebrates its second anniversary in India and is offering great discount on products for its customers. Its quite intriguing to learn how this company made its way to glory over the past two years.
Early 2014, It wasn’t easy at all for any new company to establish itself in the smartphone market which was dominated by Samsung in India. However, Xiaomi adhered to its goal of providing affordable technology to people and managed to strike a cord by offering great products at reasonable prices. They have been progressing in the right direction ever since.
Xiaomi was founded in 2010. They’ve been able to bring together like-minded people from Microsoft, Google, Motorola, Yahoo and other big players in the industry with a focus of making innovative products at ground breaking prices. They reached great heights in China by 2014. Mi 3 was Xiaomi’s top performing smartphone in China then, so it was a logical move to introduce this phone in India.
Mi started its journey with Mi 3 in July 2013. This was one phone which transformed the Indian Smartphone market. Until Mi3 arrived in India the concept of ‘affordable flagship phone’ was non-existent.
Xiomi had a different approach to things and had a clear road map in their mind.I can still remember the conversations which Hugo and Manu had with the media and blogger community. Instead of having the launch at a fancy venue, they focused on small group discussions with us to understand the market and our thoughts. They also explained to us what they bring to the table. This approach was something new to many of us and today we know that it was indeed a great way to start.
I loved the honest approach this company was taking. It was a new learning for many of us to understand how they could price the phone at such a great price.
The Mi3 India announcement came with this beautiful theme designed exclusively for the launch which showed their dedication and interest in bringing great products to our country.
Xiaomi Mi3 also introduced a new concept to Indian e-commerce business – The Flash Sale which was new to us and it became a routine for many of us to sit in front of a computer and wait till the clock strikes 2.00 PM to hit the submit button and buy phones. On a lighter note, the initial sales also did a regression analysis on the Flipkart’s infrastructure which went down many times during these sales.
“The site saw an unprecedented 250,000 users simultaneously accessing the Mi 3 page shortly after the sale opened at 2pm today. This traffic load was 4 times higher than the heaviest level ever experienced by Flipkart’s infrastructure. At 2pm sharp, when the countdown timer on the Mi 3 page hit 00:00:00, users were able to instantly add the product to their shopping carts (resulting in liquidation of the entire inventory in just under 5 seconds) and were then taken to the payment and checkout pages which they completed at their leisure.” – Flipkart
More Phones to the Market:
Following the Mi3 success, the company introduced Redmi 1s – which was the best entry level smartphone. The company also partnered with Airtel for the first time to help users experience how 4G can help them with faster internet using the Redmi Note 4G This also got company more traction which till then was only by online sales and branding via Facebook & Flipkart.
By the end of 2014, the company had already sold about 1M phones in India which was a massive number considering the fact, they were just 6 months old in the country.
Mi PowerBanks, which were launched in October 2014 was an instant hit as well. No one could imagine buying a 10,000 mAh power bank for as low as 999 INR.
Mi4, Mi4i and Mi Band:
2015 saw variety of devices coming from the company. The Mi4, Mi4i, Redmi 2, Mi Pad and Mi Band. The Mi Band became one of the most successful product for the company. In a short period of time, Mi also became the Number one wearable brand in India with over 27% market share according to IDC survey, 2016 Q1.
Days after the Mi4i launch, the company also announced that Ratan Tata, chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons has made an investment in the company. Ratan Tata’s investment was the best affirmation of the strategy the company has undertaken in India so far.
Manufacturing smartphones locally was a significant step which Xiaomi took. Around August 2015, the company partnered with Foxconn to bring in the first Made in India phone to the market – The Redmi 2 Prime. Further, generating more jobs in India.
MIUI, offering the User Experience that matters:
MIUI helps the performance and offers great user experience along with a variety of options to control your phone. Over the years there have been a lot of customisations specific to the Indian market like directory integration, copying OTP from messages etc.
You never buy a phone just because it has great specs. You buy it for its reliability, design, style and most importantly, the user-experience.
MIUI is more of an experience and gives you similar feel without worrying about the latest version of Android available in market. The company has been very vocal about supporting all their phones. Their latest release – MIUI v8 will be available to every device which was sold in India.
Mi Phones in 2016:
Early this year in March, the company announced the Redmi Note 3 which has seen incredible success for the company in India. They have sold over 600K phones within 60 days of launch. It was quickly followed by Mi5 and Mi Max which reached India within months of their Global release.
Around April 2016, Xiaomi invested in Hungama which also got them an exclusive partnership to deliver content to Mi customers.
Earlier this month, Mi India expanded its offline presence with two new partners. Being primarily an e-commerce company, the company has taken its learning from the online model to offline model. As they expanded to more than 5000 offline outlets, it allowed more people to experience Mi products and purchase them easily.
The People behind and their Approach:
Hugo has always been a great guy to talk to.He has been honest and clear in his approach from the very first meet. A lot of people love his presentation style. The attention to detail in his talks is also worth mentioning!
Manu is very approachable as well. In the past 2 years, every-time we met him, he has always welcomed us with a wide smile. Its impressive to see, how he has built his team in India and taken the company ahead in the region. Not to forget, his dedication on being part of the every launch and lending ears to our feedback.
Mi Press meets have always reminded me of the good old Nokia days. They are not about flashing the technical specs or marketing content with numbers but one gets a lot of insight by being a part of the detailed technical and feedback discussions.
Xiaomi also introduced the culture of Fans in India. While some companies used fans just to celebrate success or have them at their launches, Xiaomi involved them in testing/building the products as well. For their latest Redmi Note 3, Explorers identified 100 fans and planned a lot of activities and explore the phone through them.
Challenges the Company Faced:
Xiaomi’s journey in India has not been just a bed of roses; they faced many challenges as well. To begin with, the entire ‘Flash Sale’ model backfired when many people started to report it to be fake and questioned the integrity of Flash Sales itself. This also brought a sense of disappointment to the few who wanted to buy a phone but never managed to buy one through these Flash sales. Thereby, tarnishing the brand name on social media.
This was followed by concerns of data privacy as there were reports claiming that Mi devices store data on Chinese servers which could be hacked easily. The company had to step up and convince the users about how serious they were about user data and how they planned to move it out of China.
Now everyone expects Xiaomi to bring every cool product the company announces in China to India. Be it the MiTV, The Rice Cooker, Home Automation solution, Variants, Accessories etc. Unfortunately, its not that easy for the company to get them all here. There are definitely logistic constraints as of now and we hope to see them soon.
Customer Service is also the most discussed topic online. To be honest, every company suffers in that segment. I can’t think of any company other than Apple which excels in Product and Customer Service. But Apple has the luxury to do that. With Xiaomi things also went haywire as outsourced Customer Service companies could not live up to the expectation. Early this year, the company introduced its first in-house customer service offering.
A lot has changed in the past 2 years and its definitely worth looking back what this company has done in the Indian Smartphone Business. They changed the way how many people look at buying smartphones, technology got more affordable and a lot more people got connected. We hope they come up with more ground breaking and innovative technologies that anyone can use and adopt in their lives. We wish Xiaomi a lot of success in years to come, and Well, Happy Anniversary Xiaomi India!
Xiaomi at an event today launched Mi Drone – the company’s very first drone that is targeted at the high-end consumer market. The Mi Drone comes in two variants — the 4K version retails at RMB 2999, while the 1080P one is priced at RMB 2499. Mi Drone (1080P) will be crowdfunded on the Mi Home app starting 26 May 2016, and Mi Drone (4K) will be available for testing via an open beta programme in late July.
Mi Drone comes with either a 1080P or 4K camera. The 1080P camera sports a 16-megapixel Sony backside illuminated CMOS sensor and has a 104- degree wide angle lens. The 12-megapixel 4K camera shoots video at a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and supports recording still images in RAW format.
Mi Drone also has four layers of built-in security — real-time location tracking to allow users to retrieve the drone easily even if it has crashed, real-time computing power to enable it to return on low battery levels, automatic hovering at the edge of no-fly zones, and the use of a remote control with a PCB antenna array to avoid losing contact with the drone and can control up to 3km.
For safer and more stable flights, Mi Drone uses both GPS and GLONASS for accurate positioning. In the absence of satellite signals, Mi Drone uses vision positioning and can continue hovering even at low altitudes (below 2.5 metres). One can trace Mi Drone’s position via GPS and once the Mi Drone fly out of the connected range then it will automatically fly back to the original position where it took off.
Mi Drone uses a 1.2mm thin body design, and after over 100 tests on structural integrity and strength, its weight has been reduced by as much as 16%. The four propellers feature an aerodynamic design for optimal efficiency.
Mi Drone has a 15.2V battery with a capacity of 5100mAh. These factors — lightweight design, propeller efficiency and high capacity intelligent battery — allows Mi Drone to achieve a long flight time of up to 27 minutes.
Mi Drone has a modular design and foldable landing gear, enabling users to easily disassemble and carry it around in a backpack.
Few months ago, when I visited Shenzhen, one of the items I really wanted to buy was the Xiaomi Bluetooth speakers. My reasons were simple – personal entertainment, and a perfect gifting material for family. Earlier this week, Xiaomi announced the launch of these bluetooth speakers in India. They are priced at INR 1,999 and will be available around Holi, third week of March. It will come in gold, pink and blue colour options. Hopefully, this review of mine will help you decide!
The speakers do come with a small pouch in the box.
The speakers have a full aluminium body design which is very minimalistic, handy and weighs about 270 grams. It pack a 1500mAh battery, which offers around 8 hours of music playback. The build quality of these speakers are top-notch and quite dust free as well. The buttons does give a good feel. The volume buttons also double up as a track changer. Pairing the speaker to any of the device is simple. You just have to long-press the bluetooth button to reset, and then basically pair it with your device. I use these speakers with my iPhone, Android and even my MacBook.
Like I mentioned earlier, when I picked my speakers, I thought it would be more of a personal entertainment than a living room one. However, I was taken to a surprise. The speaker was loud and covers even a mid-size room; the tonal quality is neat as well. The speakers offers a large 90dB (A) @0.5m sound in this compact body. On higher volumes, though, you can feel the vibrations on the table, the sound is pretty less distorted. I choose to keep the speakers on a cushion or bed than a table; can’t stand the sound of those vibrations. I wish, if there was a soft dock which would take these.
With built in mic, you can even take calls via the speakers. Initially, I wasn’t too excited about it; but then, when I actually took a call through it, it was pretty awesome. Almost an extension of your loud speaker mode in a good sense. Further, If you don’t fancy Bluetooth music playback, you have an Aux-in input too.
The colour on the LED around the play/pause button changes as the battery level goes down. On iOS, I love this widget which shows me the exact battery levels of the speaker.
The micro-SD is a good addition. Unfortunately, the international version of the speaker does not have a microSD card slot; its only available in China. You can throw in some of your fav music onto the card and then you are good to go without bluetooth. However, there isn’t an app or UI on the speakers to show you the contents of the card, so shifting tracks have to be done manually, one-by-one which can be painful at times. So highly recommend you to just load your most favourite tracks to the micro-SD card.
Summing up, its a great addition if you love music; especially on the go. These speakers from Xiaomi sound really good and is totally worth the money you pay for it. Suggesting a portable speaker around INR 5000 was always a tough one with good range of speakers from JBL, Sony, Logitech and few others. While some offered good sound quality, they didn’t look all that impressive. However, at INR 1999, its a no brainer to recommend these speakers from Xiaomi. They look excellent and work pretty awesome too.
Now that, I have two speakers, I would really love to see an option where I can connect these two and play music in stereo mode. I mean, isolating the Left and right audio streams. That will be super impressive!
Thanks for reading. Do let me know, if you decide to buy one.
Xiaomi India launched the Redmi Note 3 today in the country. This is the company’s first release this year and hopefully the Mi5 (which was unveiled at MWC Barcelona) will follow soon. The Redmi Note 3 is Mi’s first all body metal smartphone with a fingerprint sensor in India. The device is powered by a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor, which is the first in any phone, first in world. This processor uses ARM 872 CPU core, which is 20% more power efficient and gives significant performance benefits.
Mi has announced two variants with different storage and RAM – There is a 3GB RAM variant with 32GB internal storage which is priced at 11999 INR and a 2GB one with 16GB onboard storage priced at 9999 INR. The Redmi Note 3 is available starting March 9th on mi.com and Amazon. Pre-registering on the two sites for the first sale starts from 4pm on 3 March.
Redmi Note 3 is a dual SIM phone, features a 5.5-inch full HD display with 1080×1920 pixels resolution. The display offers wide viewing angles and a good colour reproduction; also supports sunlight display for better viewing on a bright day. The phone also supports reading mode (similar to Flux on Mac and Night Shift on iOS) which reduces the blue color tone on the screen during the night and gives a more warmer tone to the display.
Mi Redmi Note 3 runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system topped with the MIUI 7. Redmi Note 3 comes with a 16MP rear camera with dual LED flash and a 5MP front camera for selfies; with a PDAF Autofocus, and a dual ISP (Image Signal Processor). The phone also packs a 4050mAh battery which is pretty good considering the processor, size and the display. The device also supports QuickCharging; you can charge 50% in one hour and 3 hours for full charge. With being a metal body and having a 4050 mAh battery, the phone weighs just 164 grams. The Redmi Note 3 also has the support for VoLTE.
The Redmi Note 3 is the first phone from Mi which has a FingerPrint scanner. You can store upto 5 finger print profiles; and unlocks the phone in 0.3 seconds. With MIUI, You can also app-lock, View Hidden Files with finger print security. You can also use it to snap a selfie. The fingerprint sensor mounted on the rear is perfectly positioned in terms of how you hold your phone; very similar to the competition, The Honor 5X and the LeEco Le1s.
The curved edge design and build quality is impressive and the MIUI 7 blends really well with it. The built-in IR blaster is a good addition. Let’s look at the detailed review in the coming days!
Xiaomi today unveiled the Mi5 phone at MWC Today. The Mi5 goes by the mantra it was promoted on being ‘Fast’. It powers on a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM and a 128 GB Flash Drive; which results on a high Antutu score of 142,084. The snapdragon 820 has a KRYO CPU architecture change that gives the device a 200% performance increase with a 50% less power consumption when compared to the Snapdragon 810. The new LPDDR4 dual channel RAM gives a 100% performance improvement over the older one.
The Mi5 also comes with a UFS 2.0 Flash storage which gives 87% faster read and write speeds than the EMMC flash storage. The Mi5 also comes with a 3000mAh battery; a USB Type C and supports Fast Charging (Quick Charge 3.0). The Mi5 supports VoLTE and 4G+ (LTE advanced) similar to the Gionee S8 which was announced couple of days back.
For the first time, Mi5 has come up with a hardware home button which also doubles as a finger print scanner. The Mi5 is a 5.15″ inch device and a 3D ceramic back on the top of the line variant, Mi5 Pro. It gives you a texture of a marble, but without the weight of it. The phone weighs about 129 grams.
The Mi5 also comes up with the latest Sony IMX298 16-megapixel camera sensor on the rear which shoots 4K videos; and 4MP 2 micron large pixel shooter on the front. The Mi5 also comes up with first of its kind, 4-axis OIS which would give you a far less shaky images and videos.
Here are some of the top features of the Mi5.
The phone is going to be available in Gold, White and Black shades starting March 1st in China and will be available in India soon. The top of the line MI5 which is called MI5 Pro is priced at 2699 Yuan (354 USD). The rest of the models are listed below.
1.8GHz SD 820, 3GB + 32GB, 3D Glass back – 1999 Yuan (262 USD)
2.15GHz SD 820, 3GB + 64GB, 3D Glass back – 2299 Yuan (300 USD)
At the event, Mi also announced that 70 million phones were sold in the year 2015. According to IDC, Xiaomi was the #1 trending smartphone brand in China and is also #5 worldwide. Mi had also filed 3600 patents last year. Further, Like every Mi event, there was a good amount of mention about the software, the MIUI which is one of the top reasons why one buys a Mi phone. MIUI now has about 170 million users worldwide. The Mi5 is going to be available with MIUI v7 which will be Mi’s first device running Android Marshmallow.
Xiaomi (now MI) was founded in 2010 and they have reached great heights in just 4 years. They’ve brought together some real smart people from Microsoft, Google, Motorola Yahoo and other big players in the industry with a focus of making great stuffs at affordable prices. They released Mi3 and RedMi 1S Smartphones in India this year.
Recently, they have been in news on some privacy and security concerns raised by few blogs where the Redmi 1S smartphone was sending back some data to servers in China. Ever since F-secure reported this, there has been various blogs/websites quoting the same and spinning different stories.
I did reach out to the leadership team of MI and this is what they have to say,
We are extremely cautious about protecting user data; we are 100% compliant with all local laws, including the ones related to data security.
We offer various internet based services such as Mi Cloud, cloud based message etc., which require data to be stored in the cloud. However, we take rigorous steps to ensure that the data is encrypted and secured while being sent to the server, and is not stored beyond the time required. In fact, we made changes to our system to ensure that Mi Cloud is by default deactivated, and does not send data to servers automatically. Only when a consumer consciously activates Mi Cloud services, the data is backed-up. We made these two blog posts in July and August, which explains the entire situation.
After we made these posts, various blogs updated their earlier stories confirming that there is no data threat from Xiaomi devices. This article confirms that the phones so not automatically send data to Mi Cloud anymore.
Earlier this year, Mi e-commerce Engineering teams started migrating their global e-commerce platforms and user data for all international users from the Beijing data centers to Amazon AWS data centers in California (USA) and Singapore. They also began using Akamai’s global CDN infrastructure to speed up static page loads. This migration also includes Mi Account, Cloud Messaging and Mi Cloud services.
This migration process is expected to be completed by the end of October and will benefit users in all of their international markets — Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan. Users are already experiencing website speed boosts of at least 30% in markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and as much as 200% in India. Hugo Barra explained the plans and schedule of server and data migration process in his post yesterday.
In India and Brazil, where Amazon AWS services aren’t yet available, Mi will be working with local data center providers to set up their service infrastructure. Once that has been completed, users in these markets will be much closer to their data and enjoy even faster speeds by connecting to local servers; and most importantly, your data lives in your region.