Xiaomi’s Redmi phone series encompasses more than its fair share of low-end and wallet-friendly options, true — the Redmi 3S and Redmi 3 start at $106 and $100, respectively — but the umbrella brand also counts top-of-the-line hardware within its lineup, too. Case in point: according to rumors on Chinese social media. Xiaomi’s prepping one such stunner for debut later this year. It’ll reportedly launch as the Redmi 4 or Redmi Note 4.
Documents leaked on Chinese rumor blog Giz China appear to shed light on the new Redmi’s top-end silicon. The handset will reportedly sport a 10-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and an impressive 128GB of internal storage space. And it’ll purportedly feature proprietary “fast charging” technology of some sort — likely MediaTek’s Pump Express, if Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 is anything to go by.
The report is relatively light on other details, but early leaks suggested the new Redmi will sport an all-metal unibody exterior and, much like the Huawei’s P8 and Honor 8, a dual-camera module with “superior” color accuracy and low-light performance.
What software the new Redmi is running is anyone’s guess, but rumblings suggest it’ll be Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Chances are it won’t be vanilla Android, though — Xiaomi typically prepackages its handsets with a heavily customized in-house skin, MIUI 7.
Just when the new Redmi will see the light of day is unclear, but judging by Xiaomi’s release schedule — it launched the Redmi 3 and 2 in January of 2014 and 2015, respectively — it’s a safe bet that we’ll hear more around the holiday season. But don’t hold your breath for a U.S. release: Xiaomi has a habit of limiting its Redmi series to overseas markets like India and China.
A refreshed Redmi makes good business sense. Xiaomi has focused disproportionately on flagships this year, launching the ceramic-and-glass Mi 5 ($415) in March and Mi Max ($296) a few months shortly after, in July, and that strategy may have been to its detriment. The company has traditionally depended on low-end emerging markets to lead growth, and subsequently saw a dip in revenue during the first quarter of this year — 14.8 million shipments globally versus 17.5 million the same period a year earlier, according to market firm IHS Technology.
Increased competition is also to thank, of course — Huawei, Vivo, Oppo, ZTE, LeEco, and others are vying for dominance in the Chinese smartphone market. But to Xiaomi’s credit, it remains one of the country’s most popular handset brands. Company chief Lei Jun said in a post on Weibo that one in four smartphones sold in the country in May were “made by Xiaomi,” and that the company retained a 26-percent share of the domestic market. The firm is hoping, no doubt, that a killer new Redmi phone will cement that lead.