xiaomi

Xiaomi has launched MIUI 7, the latest upgrade to its Android-based operating systems, which it claims includes various new features designed for India. The OS will be available in beta on all Xiaomi smartphones in India starting the 24th of August.

India specific features:

Xiaomi has integrated something called Visual IVR in the phone that shows user what the voice menu is saying on the phone screen. Users can tap the phone screen to select the necessary option without having to listen to the IVR. In MIUI 7 the Visual IVR has added another 50 companies’ support numbers.

Additionally, Xiaomi has introduced a ‘smart’ SMS filter that automatically filters service messages into a separate tab leaving only important messages in the main tab. Another neat feature Xiaomi introduced is Quick OTP, that lets users copy the OTP as soon as the notification pops up without having to enter the SMS inbox.

On the localization front, Xiaomi currently claims to support 10 Indian languages and plans to add more in the future.

Other new features:

– Xiaomi has updated the system UI in the new version of MIUI, which it claims will help speed up system app launched by 30% and gain 10% better battery life. The UI can also cycle through wallpapers on a daily basis now.

– For users with a Mi band, the new OS will automatically detect when the user is asleep and will turn the phone on DND mode. The phone will be automatically turned off DND when the user wakes up.

– Using Opera’s compression technology, Xiaomi claims MIUI data saver will offer substantial data savings across all apps. The images and videos loaded by apps are first compressed through Opera’s servers to reduce data usage before being returned to the user’s phone.

– Other features introduced in this version include XXL text, that lets users set their phones to use large texts, Showtime, an app that lets users set animated videos to play on other Mi phones receiving the call and a baby album that automatically recognizes babies and groups those photos together.

Device sales: Xiaomi claimed that it sold 34.7 million phones in the first half of 2015 (H1 2015), registering a 33% year-on-year (YoY) growth over H1 2014. It’s worth noting that Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun had recently said that the company was targeting 80 million to 100 million phone sales in 2015 and that the company was targeting revenues of $16-32 billion for the year.

The Beijing-based company is currently operational in India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, besides China. It recently started selling in Brazil as well, starting with the Redmi 2. Earlier in the year, the company had opened its official US online store, though it currently only sells accessories and not smartphones.

Other developments:

– Last month, Xiaomi said it would launch a full fledged e commerce store for its devices in India. The company, which already sells its goods via mi.com, would invest in setting up a warehouse and logistics as well.

– In November last year, Xiaomi revealed its plans to start making smartphones in India as it continued to struggle to match consumer demand. As of now, Xiaomi mentions that it is in talks with various state governments for setting up the plant, although the company will manufacture through a contractual manufacturer. This is in line with the June report when Foxconn said it would start making Xiaomi phones in Andhra Pradesh, India, although the company did not give out specific dates.

– In September last year, Xiaomi’s venture capital arm Xiaomi Ventures invested $25 million in Andon Health Company, a startup that designs and manufactures health information devices.

Image source: Flickr user Jon Russell