Xiaomi joins Google’s Android One programme, unveils Mi A1 smartphone

Xiaomi joins Google’s Android One programme, unveils Mi A1 smartphone

The Chinese phone maker’s latest device will come with stock Android operating system and other Google security features, and will be launched internationally including in Singapore.

Xiaomi Mi A1
The Mi A1 device is Xiaomi's first phone on Google's Android One programme. (Image: Xiaomi/Twitter)

SINGAPORE: Xiaomi on Tuesday (Sep 5) announced the global launch of its Mi A1 device in New Delhi, India and, at the same time, confirmed it was the latest phone manufacturer to come on board the Google Android One programme.

Mr Donovan Sung, director of Product Management and Marketing at Xiaomi Global, unveiled the 5.5-inch, full high definition smartphone and noted there will be three colour options – black, gold and rose gold – at launch.

He also highlighted the device’s dual camera, as well as software customisations, to create “DSLR-quality” pictures, as one of Mi A1’s key attractions.

The device will come with the stock Android operating system, with Mr Jon Gold, global director of Android Partner Programs saying that Android Oreo, or 8.0, will come to the device by 2017. It will also be “one of the first devices to get Android P”, the next generation of the mobile OS, he added.

Besides the OS updates, the Google executive said the device will receive monthly security updates as well as Google Play Protect – its mobile security offering.

Phone makers have been struggling with updating Android phones with the latest OS and security updates, and joining the Android One initiative will help Xiaomi address these challenges.

Announced in 2014, Android One is a set of rules for hardware makers to follow, ensuring consistency in the user experience while figuring out the costs for manufacturers. It was an initiative to ensure its Android operating system can work in low-end smartphones prevalent in emerging markets.

However, Mr Gold said the OS developer has been quietly moving away from just the low-end phones for some time, and the partnership with Xiaomi underlines this shift to target various price points. 

The device will be launched in India on Sep 12, and will cost Rs 14,999 (S$317.10) for the 64GB model, Xiaomi’s Mr Sung said. 

In addition to India, the Mi A1 device will also be made available globally, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia in the Asia Pacific region, the executive added. 

In Singapore, the Mi A1 with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage will be available in October through online and offline channels, the company said, adding that local pricing has yet to be confirmed.

Source: CNA/kk