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Xiaomi Showdown: Chinese upstart set to target high-end market with 'premium' metal handset

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi -- known for its disruptive high-spec, low-cost Android handsets -- appears ready to make a move upmarket with the launch of an all-metal device after inviting members of the media to an event with invitations stamped from steel.




Xiaomi has dubbed the July 22 press conference "The Journey of a Piece of Steel," seemingly in reference to the milling and machining processes used to take steel from blanks to a finished product. As if to drive home their point, the company formed each invitation in the shape of a mobile phone case.

If true, Xiaomi's move could represent a play to take on Apple in Xiaomi's home market of China, where the company is already hot on the heels of Android market leader Samsung. Beijing-based Xiaomi is well-liked throughout the Asian nation for the value of its products, but -- unlike its Californian rival -- it is not considered a luxury brand.

Metal casings have become one of the primary differentiators for high-end consumer electronics in recent years, driven in large part by Apple's success with its trademark aluminum. They remain relatively rare in mobile phones, however, largely due to their high cost in comparison to injection-molded plastic alternatives.

Brand position notwithstanding, Xiaomi has made major advances in recent years, attracting both consumers and technical talent. With CEO Lei Jun often styled as "China's Steve Jobs," the company also snagged Android product executive Hugo Barra from Google late last year.




In a Monday morning note to investors, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider, Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf called out Xiaomi as the company best positioned to dethrone Samsung as the top Android smartphone manufacturer in Asia.

The money Xiaomi saves with its unconventional marketing and sales tactics -- including a heavy reliance on social media and internet sales -- is "plowed back into high-quality components while keeping retail prices down to around $270 for its top-selling brand," Wolf wrote. "Although sales are just beginning to move up, Xiomi [sic] has plans to invade most of the countries in southeast Asia and possibly some in Europe. Its biggest challenge likely will be to spread its brand in countries outside of China without breaking the marketing bank."
post #2 of 56
And now we know why the Chinese State Media was coming down on Apple...
post #3 of 56
Quote:
Xiaomi has dubbed the July 22 press conference "The Journey of a Piece of Steel," seemingly in reference to the milling and machining processes used to take steel from blanks to a finished product. 

 

Steel & glass.  How very 20th century.

post #4 of 56
Now I'm wondering if Hugo Barra leaving Google for Xiaomi was by a nodding agreement with Google, helping them blunt Samsung's juggernaut.
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post #5 of 56
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... analyst Charlie Wolf called out Xiaomi as the company best positioned to dethrone Samsung as the top Android smartphone manufacturer in Asia.

... Its biggest challenge likely will be to spread its brand in countries outside of China without breaking the marketing bank."

 

Those two sentences sum up Xiaomi's strength and weakness in a nutshell.  It's one thing to beat Samsung on their home turf.  It's another thing entirely to gain mindshare around the world.  That takes time and/or money.  Many years and probably also many billions of US dollars.  Good luck with that.

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post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

If true, Xiaomi's move could represent a play to take on Apple in Xiaomi's home market of China, where the company is already hot on the heels of Android market leader Samsung.
 

Yeah, hot on the heels alright.  If 5% market share versus 38% market share isn't "hot on the heels," I don't know what is.

post #7 of 56
Having been in contract manufacturing for 5 years, this is simply lipstick on a pig. The Chinese simply don't have the work ethics and technological knowledge to compete with Apple.
post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
 

Steel & glass.  How very 20th century.

Steel is a great metal. At the same weight, it is much stronger than aluminum.

 
From an environmental standpoint, steel is not as recyclable as aluminum.
 

From a manufacturing perspective, steel is a more difficult material to work with than aluminum.

 

Various Apple products are milled from a solid piece of aluminum because the metal is relatively soft; the waste material can be easily recycled at a fraction of the energy required to make new aluminum from bauxite ore. Apple does this because milling can result in a highly complex parts that aren't readily attained by other manufacturing processes like stamping or extrusion.

 

As far as I know, Apple's steel parts (like the back of iPod classics, previous iPod touch generations) have never been milled from a single block of steel. This is why Apple has invested so much in their partnership with LiquidMetal: the ability to extrude or form complex shapes in alloys that are far stronger than aluminum.


Edited by mpantone - 7/14/14 at 11:28am
post #9 of 56
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Now I'm wondering if Hugo Barra leaving Google for Xiaomi was by a nodding agreement with Google, helping them blunt Samsung's juggernaut.

 

Yeah, and the timing of Barra's departure just happened to coincide with his fellow Googler girlfriend becoming Sergei Brin's mistress.

 

http://nypost.com/2013/08/30/google-transfers-glass-staffer-after-billionaire-brins-mistress-outed/

post #10 of 56

Good for them!

 

This has very little to do with Apple.

 

I fully support Android manufacturers going at each others throats. Let them all fight each other, while scrambling to pick up a few leftover crumbs. I fully support an Android civil war. 

 

As for the phone itself, it's Android, so it doesn't matter if somebody makes an Android phone that is covered with real gems and diamonds. You're still stuck with a piece of junk.

 

As for the CEO, he's merely a cheap Chinese imitation of Steve Jobs. How pathetic.

 

post #11 of 56
Wouldn't it be interesting if it was waterproof and RUST just like the rest of the Chinese clones.
post #12 of 56

Hey, let Xioami branch out to the US market. They'll be pounded into dust by Apple.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #13 of 56
So what. It's still an Android.
post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

As for the CEO, he's merely a cheap Chinese imitation of Steve Jobs. How pathetic.

 

Sounds like he's a perfect fit for Android.

 
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post #15 of 56

I'm not getting why they are characterized as "disruptive"…just for wanting to sell things?

post #16 of 56
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Originally Posted by auxio View Post
 

 

Sounds like he's a perfect fit for Android.

 

Copying, imitating, counterfeiting and IP theft is obviously extremely common in China, a country with few original ideas, but they don't stop there. Now Chinese CEOs even copy and imitate dead American CEOs. How much lower can they go?

post #17 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
 

.... This is why Apple has invested so much in their partnership with LiquidMetal: the ability to extrude or form complex shapes in alloys that are far stronger than aluminum.

 

Now THAT is truly 21st century tech!  :)

post #18 of 56
post #19 of 56
Strong Chinese competition from Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad and others are now taking significant market share from Samsung.
post #20 of 56

I am really surprised that Sony is not a bigger and more successful player in the mobile phone market.

post #21 of 56
This is obviously bad news just for Apple. /s
post #22 of 56

Quote:

Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
As far as I know, Apple's steel parts (like the back of iPod classics, previous iPod touch generations) have never been milled from a single block of steel. This is why Apple has invested so much in their partnership with LiquidMetal: the ability to extrude or form complex shapes in alloys that are far stronger than aluminum.

The iPhone 5c also uses stamped steel internal frames. While much of the attention has focused on the plastic shell, the use of stamped steel also greatly contributes to the 5c's lower production cost by reducing the time needed for machining. That also explains why the 5c weighs more than the 5s.

 

If Liquidmetal allows for Apple to form durable and attractive metal shell casings without time-consuming machining, then they will have the best of all worlds -- cutting edge design that takes less time to manufacture than the current state-of-the-art.

post #23 of 56
The high end market in Android phones will be as vast and lucrative as the high end market in Windows PCs.
post #24 of 56
Very utilitarian, made for those in developing countries where the emphasis is on durability not fashion. Not in the same market segment as iPhone.
post #25 of 56

the whole point of milling from a single slab of aluminum is that the chips are 100% recyclable and so reusable if it is done correctly. You cannot do that in steel so you have to stamp to save costs.  I say gimmick

post #26 of 56

"High-End" and "Android" were never meant to be in the same sentence.

Honestly, they can make an Android phone built out of solid diamond for all I care, and it'll STILL suck badly because of the crap OS running it.

Honestly, do these clowns really think the market is that stupid to not notice?

post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
 

"High-End" and "Android" were never meant to be in the same sentence.
 

 

I can hardly think of a better example of an oxymoron.

post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

Good for them!

 

This has very little to do with Apple.

 

I fully support Android manufacturers going at each others throats. Let them all fight each other, while scrambling to pick up a few leftover crumbs. I fully support an Android civil war. 

 

As for the phone itself, it's Android, so it doesn't matter if somebody makes an Android phone that is covered with real gems and diamonds. You're still stuck with a piece of junk.

 

As for the CEO, he's merely a cheap Chinese imitation of Steve Jobs. How pathetic.

 

But I'm sure they said the same thing about Steve (west coast), when compared to the Jack Welch (in the early 80's Jack was the quintessential CEO), or Tom Watson, or Seymour Cray, or Ken Olson. Or Hewlett... or Packard, or Noyce or Moore.

 

I think the key point is in China, the Xiaomi leadership team is considered a dream team.    Doesn't matter what we think.

 

As for android, this basically makes the major growth market for Samsung highly competitive, and it being the android market, they can only compete on price and incompatible features.   Not unlike the Windoes PC market, and we've seen how that market has fared for the leaders (if that's winning, it's probably better to realize that quitting is better than losing [see IBM]).

 

And this is good for Apple.  I don't see them caring if they never garner more than 30% of the world market of phones, because it will b a billion sales a year... 2nd place is good enough in units, if they can differentiate enough in product to continue 25% net profits, vs 2% net loss.

post #29 of 56
They may make a minor dent in Samsung's market share in Asia but I agree with all other posters who say that no Android powered smartphone will ever be perceived as a "high end" product. No matter how shiny they polish the can the dog food comes in it's still a can of dog food.
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Now I'm wondering if Hugo Barra leaving Google for Xiaomi was by a nodding agreement with Google, helping them blunt Samsung's juggernaut.

 

Hugo Barra left Google in disgust and went to China after Sergey Brin slept with his girlfriend, Amanda Rosenberg.

 

Brin's wife at the time, Brin's wife, Anne Wojcicki, left him shortly afterwards for cheating on her.

 

Try not to read "strategy" into areas where there was nothing but just another example of the owners of Google failing to respect boundaries.

 

@tomdri - not so much thinking outside the box, more like thinking inside the box

post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

Yeah, and the timing of Barra's departure just happened to coincide with his fellow Googler girlfriend becoming Sergei Brin's mistress.

Word on the street. . .1biggrin.gif
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post #32 of 56
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Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Having been in contract manufacturing for 5 years, this is simply lipstick on a pig. The Chinese simply don't have the work ethics and technological knowledge to compete with Apple.


From my own experience, the Chinese have much better work ethics and technology than Apple.

post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Word on the street. . .1biggrin.gif

 

Then the word on the street is that Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, a company that has access to the private contacts, communications, daily routines, and other sensitive information of hundreds of million users, betrayed the trust of not only his own Vice President and Product Spokesman for Android, but also the trust of his own wife, someone he should cherish and respect more than any other.

 

Add to that Eric Schmidt, previous CEO of Google, who joined Apple's board of directors while forgetting to mention that his company was developing their own mobile operating system, and it does nothing to reassure my trust in this company.

Apple Products: So good that their ‘faulty' products outsell competitor’s faultless ones...
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Apple Products: So good that their ‘faulty' products outsell competitor’s faultless ones...
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post #34 of 56
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Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Add to that Eric Schmidt, previous CEO of Google, who joined Apple's board of directors while forgetting to mention that his company was developing their own mobile operating system, and it does nothing to reassure my trust in this company.

Huh? Of course Steve Jobs, every Apple director and probably every Apple engineer from top to bottom was aware that Google was developing a mobile OS, and had known as much as a year or more before Schmidt joined Apple's BoD. It's not as tho it wasn't reported by Bloomberg, CNET and in other business articles, shared with Sun Micro and some carriers, discussed on internet blogs, and talked about in the Valley well before he was invited over to assist Apple.

I had always assumed you were much more knowledgeable about the histories of the two companies than you currently appear to be.
Edited by Gatorguy - 7/14/14 at 5:25pm
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post #35 of 56
Not a nice design or look and I don't think any one here or at android police would buy that so no point. Android fans would most likely stick with the known brands or switch to an iOS device. I wonder if they use child labour. Like Samsung.
post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Huh? Of course Steve Jobs, every Apple director and probably every Apple engineer from top to bottom was aware that Google was developing a mobile OS, and had known as much as a year or more before Schmidt joined Apple's BoD. It's not as tho it wasn't reported by Bloomberg, CNET and in other business articles, shared with Sun Micro and some carriers, discussed on internet blogs, and talked about in the Valley well before he was invited over to assist Apple.

I had always assumed you were much more knowledgeable about the histories of the two companies than you currently appear to be.

 

I'm sorry but, apart from the fact that you didn't even address the information about Sergey Brin being unable to be trusted, your attempts to convince me that Eric Schmidt are trustworthy have not been successful.

 

Eric Schmidt with his mistress, Kate Bohner, at Burning Man 2007:

 

 

 

(Incidentally, Kate joined a monastery in Thailand after ending her relationship with Eric and became a Buddhist nun. Way to go, Eric.)

 

His wife, who he met after she 'edited' his thesis, also reported as feeling like 'luggage' ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/fashion/nantucket-benefits-from-a-google-long-distance-marriage.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 ) and separated from him.

 

Eric promptly went on to become involved with various women while still remaining married:

 

 

Meanwhile his wife remains at Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where she focuses on her philanthropic work amid reports that she has accepted their ‘open marriage’.

 

The man just oozes trust and reliability.

 

Why is this relevant?

 

Because if a man cannot be honest in a relationship, then just what can he be honest in?

 

​Enjoy your Google products, people: They've been created by people with outstanding principles and moral fibre that you can totally trust.

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post #37 of 56
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Because if a man cannot be honest in a relationship, then just what can he be honest in?

 

It’s a new world now. Traditional values are bigoted and morality is evil.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #38 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Huh? Of course Steve Jobs, every Apple director and probably every Apple engineer from top to bottom was aware that Google was developing a mobile OS, and had known as much as a year or more before Schmidt joined Apple's BoD. It's not as tho it wasn't reported by Bloomberg, CNET and in other business articles, shared with Sun Micro and some carriers, discussed on internet blogs, and talked about in the Valley well before he was invited over to assist Apple.

I had always assumed you were much more knowledgeable about the histories of the two companies than you currently appear to be.

 

I'm sorry but, apart from the fact that you didn't even address the information about Sergey Brin being unable to be trusted, your attempts to convince me that Eric Schmidt are trustworthy have not been successful.

 

Eric Schmidt with his mistress, Kate Bohner, at Burning Man 2007:

 

 

 

(Incidentally, Kate joined a monastery in Thailand after ending her relationship with Eric and became a Buddhist nun. Way to go, Eric.)

 

His wife, who he met after she 'edited' his thesis, also reported as feeling like 'luggage' ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/fashion/nantucket-benefits-from-a-google-long-distance-marriage.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 ) and separated from him.

 

Eric promptly went on to become involved with various women while still remaining married:

 

 

Meanwhile his wife remains at Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where she focuses on her philanthropic work amid reports that she has accepted their ‘open marriage’.

 

The man just oozes trust and reliability.

 

Why is this relevant?

 

Because if a man cannot be honest in a relationship, then just what can he be honest in?

 

​Enjoy your Google products, people: They've been created by people with outstanding principles and moral fibre that you can totally trust.

Using your own standards why on earth do you have anything to do with Apple after SJ committed perjury to deny paternity over his daughter?
I can understand disliking a company for its actions/products etc but when you start bringing personal morality into it you just sound like a complete numpty
post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

The man just oozes trust and reliability.

I think Eric is being full of Schmidt.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Why is this relevant?

Because if a man cannot be honest in a relationship, then just what can he be honest in?

​Enjoy your Google products, people: They've been created by people with outstanding principles and moral fibre that you can totally trust.

Yes, cheating on your partner seems to be a recurring theme, especially with the wealthy and influential. Steve Jobs lied to his friend Woz about the money he made from their Atari deal. I doubt that's made you sit back and question every other claim that came out of his mouth since. If a man cannot be trusted in business then just when can he be trustedt? 1rolleyes.gif

Personally I avoid getting involved in other folks marriages and relationships. For all we know both sides could be stepping out on each other. How they handle their personal affairs is theirs to deal with, and they always do.
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