Xiaomi just launched the Mi A1 smartphone in collaboration with Alphabet’s Google, the first Xiaomi device to run on the evolved Android One program. Priced from INR 14,999 in India (US$233.90), Mi A1 combines hardware innovations, including an optical zoom dual camera setup, with Google-designed software.
The device runs on stock Android to offer a high-quality software experience designed by Google, underscoring Xiaomi’s commitment to providing more choices for users. At a launch event in New Delhi, India, it was announced that Mi A1 would be available in India and also in more than 40 markets around the world including Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, Poland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Mexico.
Android One is a low cost line of devices that run the Android operating system – a hardware and software standard created by Google for Android systems and customers in the developing world, although later on it was made available in limited form in some developed nations. Android One phones initially rolled out in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and other South Asian countries in 2014.
When Google started Android One in 2014 – a signature project of Google CEO Sundar Pichai (then Google’s Android head) – the company’s early OEM partners couldn’t sell enough of the devices, thus interest waned, Bloomberg reported. Google has now teamed with Xiaomi to bring the program back to life for India, continuing a stalled effort to showcase its mobile software for users in emerging markets.
Xiaomi and Google are now together aiming at the middle market with the launch of Mi A1, which will likely see them reach fewer Indian buyers, but also avoid the intensely competitive low end market, where brand affiliation matters less and margins are thin, Bloomberg highlighted.
“Mi A1 is a strategic device in our global expansion, marking a milestone on our quest to bring innovation to everyone,” said Xiaomi Senior Vice President Wang Xiang. “From the beginning Xiaomi has been all about choice, and we are delighted to offer users a new way to experience the power of Xiaomi.”
Wang noted that this is a logical extension of Xiaomi’s long partnership with Google. “Google has been a great partner, and given our strong collaboration, we thought their idea to launch a Xiaomi smartphone on Android One would be a great opportunity to give our users a different user experience,” he said. “I’m truly excited about what this partnership will bring to our users across the world!”
What’s it got to offer? Mi A1 incorporates a dual camera configuration similar to that in Mi 6, Xiaomi’s latest flagship device, with wide angle and telephoto lenses used to incredible effect. The two lenses allow Mi A1 to calculate what is in the foreground and what is in the background, creating a depth-of-field effect that typically requires a DSLR lens to achieve, allowing the user to create photos of unparalleled clarity and color.
In addition, an improved ‘Beautify’ mode that makes selfies look more natural, now works with both the front 5MP camera as well as the 12MP dual rear camera. Mi A1 supports 2x optical zoom, which makes photos of distant subjects remain clear, while 10x digital zoom is also supported.
Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s first Android One phone, with a software experience designed by Google, offering users a simple, pure Android phone that stays fresh over time with OS upgrades. As an Android One smartphone, Mi A1 comes with the most popular Google services built-in as default, such as free unlimited high quality storage from Google Photos.
Available in Black, Gold and Rose Gold, Mi A1 has a full-metal body design that measures just 7.3mm in thickness, with discreet separation lines for a seamless look and rounded edges for great hand feel. It also comes with a rear fingerprint sensor.
Featuring a 5.5-inch 2.5D curved glass screen with Corning Gorilla Glass protection, the device also boasts a 10v power amplifier for deeper lows and higher volumes, ensuring it provides an immersive media experience. A dedicated amplifier also provides support for high-impedance headphones (up to 600 ohms).
The device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor based on the 14nm manufacturing process, as well as a 3080mAh battery. It also features 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage.