Here’s a juicy rumour that I completely missed last week: Xiaomi, the world’s third-largest smartphone OEM according to IDC, may announce their next MIUI-powered flagship at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. Why the United States? Hopefully because the new device will support North American bands of LTE!
The story was first posted on PhoneArena last Friday, roughly translated from a Chinese site called MyDrivers. It’s mostly about Xiaomi’s forthcoming Mi5, which is shaping up to be a fairly impressive beast:
5.7 inch WQHD display
64 bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 CPU
20.7 megapixel Sony Exmor rear camera
Best of all is the rumoured price: $325 USD, factory unlocked. Wow.
Now here’s the bad news: the part about the Mi5 supporting North American LTE bands is pure conjecture. There’s nothing explicitly mentioned in the PhoneArena post, and the Chinese site only mentions Cat 6 LTE. Blame the latest Mobile Syrup podcast for putting the idea in my head.
A foreign company exhibiting at an American Trade Show doesn’t automatically mean that said company is launching US operations. I still remember my one and only visit to CES in 2001, where I came across a huge booth for the Japanese carrier DoCoMo. Jumping to the conclusion that i-mode was coming to the USA I asked someone there about it; the reply I got was that DoCoMo was only at the show to look for “strategic partners”.
So unfortunately, Xiaomi at CES (if they even turn up there) doesn’t necessarily mean a LTE-compatible flagship for their North American fans. But I’m crossing my fingers anyway. If my wish came true I’d buy a pair of these things in a hearbeat!