Chinese mobile phone company Xiaomi (小米手机) on Tuesday unveiled the first smartphone that relies on the MIUI OS, a fresh version of the Android platform in an increasingly competitive Asian smartphone market.
The launch in Beijing comes a day after Google Inc. announced a $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility, which makes Android phones, in a move that puts Google in direct competition with iPhone giant Apple.
Motorola aside, Asian telecom companies — including HTC, Samsung, LG and Huawei — have become the biggest producers of smartphones running the Android platform, and are leading a push for lower-priced phones, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Huawei, the Shenzhen, China-based telecoms giant, has seen rapid growth in the UK market and is trying to expand further with a new range of smartphones for under £100 (about $165), the Telegraph reports.
Another Chinese firm, ZTE Corp., has also been making an aggressive push into the market for smartphones under $200, the WSJ says.
Xiaomi's MIUI phone, called the MI-One, is being positioned as a lower-cost competitor to the iPhone 4, which has been wildly popular in China. The MI-One will include 1GB RAM and a 4GB ROM, at a price of RMB1,999 (about US$310), according to Engadget. It is powered by a Snapdragon chipset with two 1.5 GHz cores and Adreno 220 graphics.
The MIUI ROM, which is a translated version of a Chinese customized version of Android 2.3.5, is designed to look like iOS or Samsung’s TouchWiz, according to Lifehacker.