We were in attendance today for an interesting fire chat session with Hugo Barra, the Vice President for Xiaomi Global, on the eve of the launch of Xiaomi in India. Several interesting things were revealed. We were not only excited to meet the man himself, but also ask him and the Head of Xiaomi India, Mr Manu Kumar some tough questions.
— Arpit (@ohnoarpco) July 17, 2014
To their credit, the Xiaomi team took time to answer virtually every single question with straightforwardness and honesty, that we have not seen often from the giants of personal tech space. Some of the interesting points to come out of the discussion are highlighted below:
Xiaomi would ‘love’ to consider fire sales via IM platforms such as WeChat, Whatsapp etc in India
It is a model that has worked well for Xiaomi in China, and Mr Manu Kumar, the head of operation in India told us that he would be very interested in bringing sales of devices from Xiaomi through various IM channels such as WeChat or Whatsapp in future. There was no strict date or plan mentioned, but it is something that is definitely on the agenda and one that Xiaomi team is excited about.
Carrier Operated Billing is still far from being a reality
When we asked Mr Manu about the possibility of bringing carrier operated billing for Xiaomi stores in India, he was quick to point that in the existing market, only 1% of the devices have career operated billing. Xiaomi will bring only the themes that are available for free to India for the time being and will expand beyond later. There are no plans for tieing up with any telecom carrier for now and the devices will completely remain unlocked to any SIM too.
Xiaomi will give you devices with unlocked Bootloaders and also repair them for free within warranty if you screw up while flashing
In what was easily the best news for the developer community, Hugo Barra told that Xiaomi will reflash the factory OS to the devices which accidentally may get bricked while you attempt to flash a custom ROM. He said, that the customers owned their devices and should be allowed a free hand when it comes to customising it. He also announced, all the Xiaomi devices will come with international warranty.
Xiaomi will open up an R&D center in Bangalore and already has 30+ service centers in India with 2 dedicated to just Xiaomi
In an attempt to win the hearts of Indian consumers, Hugo announced the plans of opening up an R&D Center in Bangalore which will help them to develop a Mi OS which will be done keeping the Indian audience and its requirement in mind. They plan to bring over 500 service centers just like in China to India, though at present there are already over 30 functional centers as well as 2 that are dedicated to Xiaomi products only.
Xiomi will comply by Material Design and even upgrade their apps from ground up
Hugo Barra called the new design guidelines by Google ‘beautiful’ in our meet up with him and confirmed that when Android L is released, the MiUI will completely comply with the Material Design guidelines and will also redesign several of their apps from the ground up in order to make sure that they make the experience enriching and uniform.
As you must know by now, Xiaomi is bringing three devices to India, with the Mi3 set to go on sale on July 22nd for a price of Rs 13,999. The two other devices, the RedMi Note and the RedMi 1s will go on sale later for a price of Rs 9,999 and 6,999 respectively.