China’s Fast-Growing Android Phone Maker, Xiaomi, Launches An iPad Mini Competitor

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China’s Xiaomi has announced its first tablet, expanding a device portfolio that has been focused on selling lots of smartphones running its MIUI Android firmware. The announcement confirms earlier rumours that a Xiaomi slate was incoming.

Prior to today, Xiaomi was also selling its own wi-fi routers and set-top boxes — as well as offloading plush toy merchandise to its army of teenage fans — but the addition of a tablet to its portfolio fills an obvious gap for consumers.

It is also potentially a big opportunity for Xiaomi, with the Android tablet space still not dominated by any one device in the way that Apple’s iPad has dominated the category.

Indeed, that’s something that company founder, Lei Jun, who has been dubbed the ‘Steve Jobs of China’, played up in comments made today at the Beijing launch event for the new Mi tablet — where he reportedly said: “We hope to put pressure on Apple.”

Specs wise, the tablet is an iPad mini-esque 7.9 inches. But more like the iPhone 5c, it comes in a range of colours — six in all, including blue, pink, yellow and green. The URL for the tablet’s webpage on Xiaomi’s site even names it the ‘mi pad': http://www.mi.com/mipad:

Xiaomi Mi Pad

 

Screen resolution is 2048 x 1536, and there’s a 2.2GHz Tegra K1 processor powering the slate, along with 2GB of RAM.

The wi-fi only Mi is priced at 1,499 yuan ($240) for the 16GB version, or 1,699 yuan ($270) for the 64GB version.

The company is doing a beta launch of the tablet initially — something it’s done with prior hardware releases — offering it to a limited group of users next month, ahead of a full product launch at a later, as yet unconfirmed date.

Xiaomi shipped 11 million smartphones in Q1 this year, and has a target of 60 million by year’s end — fueled by its first major international expansion steps. Expanding its portfolio to include a flagship tablet, alongside its smartphones, is the next natural step.

It’s previously said it’s planning to launch products into Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Turkey, Brazil, and Mexico this year, in addition to its existing market footprint of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.