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XIAOMI ANNOUNCES IMPRESSIVE $200 SMARTPHONE AND PREPAID MOBILE SERVICES IN CHINA

Xiaomi has announced its latest smartphone, the Mi 4c, an impression $200 (budget) version of its flagship Mi 4 device. That’s not all: the Chinese company also ventured into mobile operator services after revealing two prepaid packages for customers in China. Like the Mi 4i, a smartphone that Xiaomi launched specifically for India back in April, so the Mi 4c is aimed at its China-based customers. And it’s mighty impressive… on paper, at least. The Mi 4i sports a five-inch display and is powered by a 64-bit processor, Xiaomi claims it is the first device equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808.

There’s also a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a five-megapixel “selfie” camera, as the front-facing camera is increasingly referred to. Also notable, the Mi 4i includes the new USB Type-C and ‘Quick Charge 2.0’ to help manage battery life. The basic Mi 4c comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB in storage and will cost 1299 RMB ($203), an enhanced version — 3GB RAM and 32GB storage — will be available for RMB 1499 ($235). Both models will ship with Xiaomi’s older MI UI 6 software, but the company said an upgrade to its new MI UI version 7 will be available soon.  Releasing devices with impressive spec’s at seriously aggressive prices is what Xiaomi is renowned for — the Mi 4c is yet another very competitive offering that should worry Samsung and others — but mobile operators services is something new altogether.

The firm is one of a bunch of non-telecom companies that snagged MVNO (mobile virtual network) licenses in China. That allows them to resell mobile packages from telecom companies using their brand/name, and now Xiaomi is putting that to use in China. ‘Mi Mobile’, Xiaomi’s mobile offering, has two initial services. There’s a pay-as-you-go tariff charged at RMB 0.10 (sub $0.02) per voice call minute, SMS, or 1MB of data, and an RMB 59 ($10) monthly bundle that gives users 3GB of data. The first option is available from September 23, while the second comes online in October — both will be available from Mi.com, Xiaomi’s online store, in China.

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