Xiaomi VP lists intrinsic smartphone features in defense of copycat claims, proceeds to describe iPh

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2015
In a video interview with Bloomberg published on Thursday, Hugo Barra, vice president of global operations at Chinese mobile hardware upstart Xiaomi, addressed accusations that his company's products are derivative and take more than a little inspiration from Apple's iOS lineup.




Barra told Bloomberg's Emily Chang that all smartphones need to have certain elements to function, and because form follows function, many handsets share common features. While true to some extent, Barra glossed over the how and why of modern smartphone design.

"Without a doubt, every smartphone these days kind of looks like every other smartphone," Barra said. "You have to have curved corners. You have to have, you know, like a home button in some way, that's how interaction design works."

Whether by purposeful omission or an unconscious disregard of past events, Barra fails to mention those heady years of personal device evolution when pagers moved from one-way to two-way technology, cellphones went from bricks to flip-phones and candy bars, and touchscreen PDAs joined the mix to create a primordial soup out of which emerged the beginnings of the modern smartphone. Current handset designs are formed around multiple factors, functionality, operating system UI, capability and accessibility being but a few.

With competitive market dynamics, it's no surprise that device form factors have become somewhat homogeneous, as major industry players are unwilling to risk failure by departing from proven formulas. Debate rages as to whether de facto smartphone design standards were originated by one company, namely Apple, or evolved from an organic process decades in the making.

Tech pundits and consumers previously called Xiaomi out on the seemingly iPhone 5-inspired design aesthetic applied to early handsets like the Mi 4. Those assertions gained credence last year when Apple design chief Jony Ive referred to Xiaomi's design as a form of theft, calling their decision to ape Apple's work "lazy."

When asked about Ive's comments, Barra parried, saying similarities between Mi 4 and iPhone 5 come down to "one chamfered edge." He said he was first to admit the Mi 4 does indeed look like Apple's iPhone 5, but that same chamfered edge can be found in numerous handsets made by other manufacturers. Therefore, vis-a-vis, not stealing.





Barra went further -- perhaps too far -- by saying those contributing to the Apple "copycat melodrama" were "projecting their bias against Chinese companies onto [Xiaomi]. People just couldn't bring themselves to believe that a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products -- and by the way sell them for less than half the price of a high-end Apple or Samsung device."

Later in the interview, the exec predicted that other companies would soon take inspiration from Xiaomi's designs and innovations. Barra didn't explain why, exactly, he associated the conversation with design inspiration after making clear the argument should be about intrinsic smartphone design.

Did Xiaomi copy Apple's design? Today's interview shed no new light on the subject. However, Barra's overzealous campaigning against detractors came off a touch desperate, teetering dangerously on the chamfered edge of denial.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,482member

    Oh the logic!

  • Reply 2 of 49
    Quote:


    Barra went further -- perhaps too far -- by saying those contributing to the Apple "copycat melodrama" were "projecting their bias against Chinese companies onto [Xiaomi]. People just couldn't bring themselves to believe that a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products -- and by the way sell them for less than half the price of a high-end Apple or Samsung device."


    Probably because you can't. I don't mind Chinese market goods for some items (their leather goods seem to be particularly good) but their electronics industry is largely built off of stolen designs and cheap components. It's amazing how much you can cut costs when you have very little R&D.

     

    Xiaomi is the Samsung of China.

  • Reply 3 of 49
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    "Without a doubt, every smartphone these days kind of looks like every other [B]smartphone[/B],"

    Ummmm... You mean [B]iPhone[/B]?

    "You have to have curved corners. You have to have, you know, like a home button in some way, that's how interaction design works."

    ...it has to be an iPhone? Because no phones before had Home buttons.

    The lack of acknowledgement for Apple makes me respect these copycats even less.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,754member

    What does one expect him to say?  "Uhm, yeah!  We copied the iPhone all the way down to the shape of the home button!"



    They will never admit it.  I'd bet money they all get together in a room right after a new iPhone release, and start the cloning right then and there.

  • Reply 5 of 49
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    "People just couldn't bring themselves to believe that a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator,"

    Until you innovate, you're nothing.
    You can't make people believe what you want them to just by saying it.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,517member

    Xiaomi got a huge boost to its business by copying Apple and not being stopped by Chinese authorities. Barra also seems to think we're dumb enough to think a phone designed and manufactured in China and running Android offers a secure, reliable platform. It's bad enough Apple hardware is assembled in China, without a Chinese company designing and overseeing the manufacturing, too. Well, you can fool some of the people/droidettes some of the time, but not all of them ever. I wonder what Barra's price was. Not knowing that, I'm tempted to call him a chump. It's not surprising he hails from Google, though, as that company is rife with spinsters.

  • Reply 7 of 49
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,525member

    Based on descriptions of his job and title at Xiaomi, I believe Barra is just a salesman. So why does everyone treat him as if he were the CEO?

     

    Also, China doesn't give a whit about US patent or copyright protections. Xiaomi will never be allowed to sell their ripoffs in the US, except in secret off the back of trucks.

  • Reply 8 of 49
    sumergosumergo Posts: 210member

    Well, what could he say otherwise?  He's their VP and can't possibly come out and say that oriental cultures, like those of Japan and China, consider it a complement to copy already existing work.  On-the-fly, innovative, creativity doesn't seem to be their thing.

  • Reply 9 of 49
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,982member
    Horse shit
  • Reply 10 of 49
    sumergosumergo Posts: 210member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post



    Horse shit



    I'm not sure which post you were referring to because your response was a little lacking in information.  Can you provide more detail?  And can you leave the horses out of it - all this is purely human shit ;-)

  • Reply 11 of 49
    buckalecbuckalec Posts: 192member
    Great smiley happy infomercial - Bloomberg wise up
  • Reply 12 of 49
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,420member
    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]Disgusting.

    By the third world, of the third world, for the third world. If they show up anywhere in the U.S. or Europe, Apple should go after them with a vengeance.
  • Reply 13 of 49
    apophisapophis Posts: 35member
    These clowns can't "take themselves seriously" because they are basically a knockoff shop that copies and sells on slim margins. They place is at the bottom of the market.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    This article sure brought out the trolls over at MacRumors. A few have brought up the "Good artists..." meme and such. I've heard it's bad over there but this is a new level entirely.
  • Reply 15 of 49

    Xiamoi: iPhone-Killer, or just...

  • Reply 16 of 49
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,202member

    This dude is clearly delusional and living in a world where fakery and mediocrity is viewed as the reality and imitation is equated with innovation. It's too bad that Apple can't sit just on the sidelines for a couple of years and challenge this faker to produce one, just one, original idea, concept, or design that isn't sucked like a blood sucking leach from someone else's brain.

     

    Look up "pathetic pond scum sucking leach" in the dictionary - and behold - a picture of Hugo Barra and Xiaomi appears. 

  • Reply 17 of 49
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post



    This article sure brought out the trolls over at MacRumors. A few have brought up the "Good artists..." meme and such. I've heard it's bad over there but this is a new level entirely.

     

    After reading your post, I couldn't stop myself from checking it out.  Man, what a cesspool of delusional notions that place has become (and that thread in particular). 

     

    Reminds me of that line from Apocalypse Now: "...the sh** piled up so fast... you needed wings to stay above it."

  • Reply 18 of 49
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,683member
    The only thing I find interesting about this is his statement that other cell phone companies will begin to look to Xiaomi for design inspiration. He would not say this unless they plan to do something. I curious what they may attempt to do which they think would get people to notice them again. Lots of company have tried lots of things to get notice but very few have changes the status quo. I predict what ever they make do will be a complete flop, kind like every cell phone company thinking you had to have micro-SD slot to storage, removeable battiers, puting the "home" button in various locations and the list goes on and on.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,525member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    The only thing I find interesting about this is his statement that other cell phone companies will begin to look to Xiaomi for design inspiration. He would not say this unless they plan to do something. I curious what they may attempt to do which they think would get people to notice them again. Lots of company have tried lots of things to get notice but very few have changes the status quo. I predict what ever they make do will be a complete flop, kind like every cell phone company thinking you had to have micro-SD slot to storage, removeable battiers, puting the "home" button in various locations and the list goes on and on.

    I remember an earlier interview with Barra in which he more frankly acknowledged the derivative nature of their products. Until they stop ripping off Apple, he's full of it.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    The guy used to work for Google until his gf dumped him to commit adultery with one of the founders.

    So his ex Google affiliation explains his lack of morals and "copy the iPhone but don't give credit" philosophy.
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