The Xiaomi Mi A1 has been unveiled as the new face of Google’s Android One platform. This will be a crucial device for Xiaomi which has not brought any flagship model to India this year, and also for Google, with none of its previous Android One models delivering either. This new Android One smartphone is Xiaomi’s second global smartphone launch in India, after it debuted the Mi 4i here first back in 2015.
To that end, the Mi A1 will get Android Oreo by the end of the year, and Xiaomi says it’ll be “one of the first” phones to get Android P — which we haven’t heard anything about — in 2018.
Xiaomi’s brand is strong in India — the Chinese company captured 17 percent of the Indian smartphone market last quarter, according to figures from IDC, placing it second behind Samsung’s 24 percent. The two top-selling phones in that period were Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4, helping the company grow its sales 328 percent year on year.
The Mi A1 is significantly more expensive than those phones, starting at 14,999 rupees (about $234) for a 64GB model with 4GB of RAM, but it’s less than half the price of something like the OnePlus 5 or a quarter the price of an iPhone 7 Plus. It won’t be a top seller for the company, then, but it represents an intriguing upmarket move for the Android One program and a potentially compelling combination of software, hardware, and price.
Beyond India, Xiaomi is releasing the Mi A1 in more countries than usual — a total of 13 markets in Asia, ten in Europe, ten in the Middle East and Africa, and four in Central and South America. It’ll be available on September 12th.