LONDON -- Xiaomi, the up-and-coming Chinese technology company that is among the world's biggest smartphone makers, will hold a media event on Oct. 19, and while many expect the launch of the Mi 5 smartphone at the event, it is very unlikely.
Xiaomi released the Mi 4 smartphone over a year ago so an update to its flagship line is certainly overdue, but the main reason the launch of the Mi 5 is unlikely to happen next Monday is the fact that the chips said to be powering the device are just not ready.
Xiaomi is widely thought to be among a number of companies preparing to launch smartphones powered by Qualcomm's latest chip, the Snapdragon 820 SoC. That chip, however, won't be ready to ship until 2016, meaning customers looking to buy a phone revealed in the middle of October would have a three-month wait before they actually got their hands on the device.
There are, however, some reports suggesting that Xiaomi has decided to switch chip suppliers and go with MediaTek's Helio X20 SoC, which is challenging Qualcomm's 820 chip for market share in the premium smartphone market. This would be a surprising move by Xiaomi given the fact that Qualcomm is an investor in the Chinese company, though Xiaomi has used MediaTek chips for many of its previous smartphones -- albeit, not its flagship devices.
Xiaomi's cryptic invite simply says that we can expect “the next generation” of something, but fails to specify what exactly. Xiaomi is, of course, much more than a smartphone company these days, producing everything from headphones and powerbanks to TVs, fitness trackers, blood pressure monitors, air purifiers, smart light bulbs, webcams and action cameras.
While Xiaomi's smartphones are yet to go on sale in the U.S., it has begun selling its smart home products, headphones, fitness trackers and power banks through an online store.
When the Mi 5 is eventually launched, it will replace Xiaomi’s current flagship model, the Mi 4, which launched over a year ago, though it has since been updated with the Mi 4i and Mi 4c. Along with the Snapdragon 820 chipset, the reported specs of the smartphone, which will run Xiaomi’s own version of Android called MIUI, include a 5.2-inch QHD screen, 4GB of RAM, 16GB/32GB storage, 16 megapixel rear camera, 8 megapixel front camera, fingerprint sensor and a USB-C charging and transfer port. There is also a suggestion that Xiaomi will launch a Mi 5 Plus with a 5.7-inch screen.