Xiaomi is slated to make a big announcement on January 10. It is slated to launch an all-new Redmi phone in China on January 10 but that is not what fans, enthusiasts and critics are waiting for. Well, surely, they are waiting for the phone, but not as much as they are waiting to hear about Xiaomi’s next big marketing plunge, or strategy for 2019.
Xiaomi is reportedly planning to make Redmi a stand-alone sub-brand, something like say Poco, and we may hear some sort of announcement about it on January 10. It would be a surprising, even hard to digest, decision, but come to think of it, it makes a lot of business sense for Xiaomi. And it makes lots of sense particularly in a market like India, should Xiaomi bring it to India anytime soon. Buyers in India and elsewhere have grown to associate Xiaomi with the Redmi and the Mi phones that it has in its portfolio.
While Redmi caters to the affordable segment, Mi is meant for buyers looking for more premium specs and design. Poco, meanwhile, could be summed as a value flagship lineup that may compromise on certain aspects like all-round design in favor of all-round user experience.
Note that Xiaomi has never explicitly demarcated Redmi as an affordable lineup, nor has it ever explicitly marketed Mi as a more premium series: both Redmi and Mi have come to become what they’ve become basis of their pricing and what they offer on paper. Going forward however, Xiaomi may be looking to bring more clarity to its products but basis of the first Redmi product that it is apparently looking to launch on January 10, it seems, it is also looking to rejig things with respect to ID and core hardware.
The Redmi lineup, even though it offers great value for money has become boring over the years. With respect to design and with respect to core hardware: and in the meantime, brands like Realme and Nokia and Honor have come up and shown that an affordable phone may not necessarily have to be boring. The decision to branch Redmi into a separate sub-brand is clearly intended to break stereotypes, a fresh start if you may, to take on competition with fresh vigor.
Company CES Lei Jun has shared a few press renders of the first Redmi phone, that may be called anything from the Redmi 7 to the Redmi Note 7 to the Redmi X, giving us a first-look of the phone in question ahead of launch. It is a stark departure from the existing Redmi phones in that it has an all-glass body with a couple of options to be made available with gradient finish: Redmi phones in the past have had either plastic or metal bodies and the very recent ones all look more or less the same from a design point of view. The images are also in line with a leaked poster doing the rounds of the Internet giving due credence to it.
Another USP of this Redmi phone, that Xiaomi has already confirmed, will be its 48MP primary rear camera: a first for any Redmi and quite possibly any product in its price category. The renders also confirm features like dual rear cameras, and USB Type-C charging. And rumour has it that this Redmi phone may have a waterdrop-style notch too, a 6.3-inch display and pack a 4,000mAh battery.
There is no definite answer why Xiaomi would make Redmi a separate brand for now. Hopefully, things will become clearer on January 10.