After launching the Pocophone F1 in India last week, Xiaomi is announcing global availability for the low-cost/high-spec smartphone. It will be available in a number of markets in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. But like most Xiaomi smartphones it won’t be sold directly to consumers in the US or Canada.
You may still be able to buy one from third-party sellers that import the phone. But if you do that you can probably expect to pay a little extra to get a phone that may have limited support for the wireless networks you need.
Among other things, the Pocophone F1 features a 6.2 inch, 2246 x 1080 pixel display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, at least 6GB of RAM, at least 64GB of storage, dual rear cameras, a 20MP front camera, stereo speakers, a 4,000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support, a USB Type-C port, a headset jack, and a microSD card slot.
It also supports 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and a fingerprint sensor, and the phone has a face unlock feature that uses an infrared illuminator so that it can be used in the dark.
The most remarkable thing about the phone is that despite having high-end specs, it sells for less than half the price of competing flagships. Prices in India start at about $300.
It’ll cost a bit more in some markets, but it’s still a bargain compared with other phones with similar specs:
- €329 (~$380) and up in France
- 2,800 (~$360) HKD and up in Hong Kong
- 17,990 PHP (~340) and up in the Philippines
- 4,499,000 IDR (~$310) and up in Indonesia
- 1,237 MYR ($~300) and up in Malaysia
The phone isn’t necessarily perfect: it doesn’t have NFC and there’s no optical image stabilization for the cameras. There’s a notch in the top of the display, and the phone has a polycarbonate body (although there’s also an option for a pricier version with a Kevlar back).
Still, the price is pretty hard to beat, and Xiaomi is clearly targeting this phone at enthusiasts as well as mainstream consumers: the Pocophone F1 has an unlockable bootloader and Xiaomi plans to release kernel source code to the public this week.
Update: The kernel source is available.
via @GlobalPocophone and MySmartPrice
I would not be surprised if Qualcomm sold discounted chipsets to Xiaomi, with the condition that they would not be sold in US & Canada. Maybe Qualcomm made a Snapdragon version with specific LTE bands disabled.
Would cost more to ask for a modified soc. Way cheaper and easier to just disable via firmware.
It would have to be something like this. Why else would they ignore the biggest market? This would be a huge success in the US,
The US is the third-biggest market, behind China and India… and that’s only because Europe is generally counted as a bunch of smaller markets rather than one big one.
Anyway, Xiaomi’s been talking about entering the US market for years, but the company keeps delaying that move.
Phones are largely sold through carriers in the US, which means that device makers who want significant market share need to work out deals with those carriers. Meanwhile, carriers often subsidize the prices of phones or spread out the full price in monthly payments so that many customers never really think of phones as costing $600 or $1000… they think of them as costing $20 per month.
In that environment, it’s tougher for a brand known for high-quality, low-cost phones to stand out here than it is in markets where people are more likely to pay full price up front.
After ZTE and Huawei being smashed, XIaomis interest in the US/Australia market might be very low.
Bad press would probably hurt a lot more.
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