Xiaomi touts upmarket phablet at a budget price

Xiaomi (sounds like ‘show me’) is a Chinese phone maker that we may be hearing much more of (see - China’s adapted Android could soon be coming to a smartphone near you).

It’s now preparing for its international push in May by releasing a phablet called the Redmi Note in China and announcing plans to make it available in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore in May… then the world.

Not only is the 5.5 inch phablet going to be on sale at a mere US$130, but it sports impressive specs for the price and looks likely to represent a major threat to existing players in the low-end markets (where the growth is) and maybe even - with a spec/price ratio like that - in developed markets as well.

Here’s the crunchy techy stuff: it has an octa-core processor and will ship with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, has 8GB of internal memory and comes in a variety of funky colours.

Redmi - every colour but red?

It has dual SIM capability and supports HSPA and GSM/EDGEalong with Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n. It has two cameras - 5 megapixels facing front and a decent 13 megapixels rear.

For the estabilished players Xiaomi is particularly dangerous because it sees itself, ultimately, as a software, services and content company which, a little like Amazon, sells the media gadgets at or a little above cost with plans to harvest revenue from content and services when the user base is huge.

A competitor that’s not totally focused on immediate profitability is very dangerous indeed and the low-cost Redmi looks like a good act to open with.

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