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Xiaomi is helping Google grow Android One

by Justin Herrick | September 5, 2017September 5, 2017 6:00 am PST

The latest Android One device just became official. Google is calling on a new partner for the program’s expansion around the world. Xiaomi introduced the Mi A1 as its first device to run an entirely clean version of Android rather than its in-house software overlay. And, because of its attachment to Google’s program focused on growth in emerging markets, the phone comes with modest specifications to stay affordable.

Xiaomi’s Mi A1 features a 5.5-inch (1920×1080) display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, two 12MP rear cameras, a 5MP front camera, and a 3080mAh battery.

After seeing the phone, you’re probably thinking the Mi A1 looks a lot like the iPhone 7 Plus. Xiaomi is aware of that, and the company even embraces the comparison with Apple’s 2016 flagship. An image tweeted by Xiaomi actually shows the iPhone 7 Plus next to the Mi A1 while highlighting the two 12MP cameras on the back. So there’s no hiding the similarities. Xiaomi knows people like the iPhone and wants to emulate its strongest features.

One thing you won’t find here is MIUI, the Android-based software found on all of the company’s other phones and tablets. That’s because the entire point of Android One is to keep hardware simple and fast. Both Xiaomi and Google promise the Mi A1 will be upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of the year. It’ll also be an early candidate to receive Android P in 2018.

Although it looks like an iPhone, Xiaomi’s first dip into Android One is priced way differently. The Mi A1 costs just ₹14,999 (around $234 USD). All of the Android One devices announced to date have been in the same area in terms of price.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 arrives in India first on September 12 before heading to additional countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas.


Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...