China’s Xiaomi has launched the smart home product that many people have been waiting on: a smart rice cooker.
The company already offers an air purifier, water purifier, blood pressure monitor, and smart segway among many other smartphone-controlled products, but a rice cooker is an essential part of any Chinese (/Asian) household so this product has been long anticipated.
Indeed, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun paved the way for this launch when, in February, he lamented the fact that Chinese companies had not matched Japanese innovation on rice cookers. Today, at a product launch held in Beijing, Xiaomi hoped to level things up with its new rice cooker which — yes! — connects to a smartphone app to make trickier-than-you-imagine art of cooking good rice a cinch.
Among its features, Xiaomi’s “Mi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker” — to use its full name — will optimize cooking to the type of rice you have.
“Users can scan their pack of rice to identify the type of rice, brand and origin, and based on that, the rice cooker can adjust its heating methodology to best suit the type of rice. It currently supports more than 200 brands of rice, and this will be expanded in the future,” Xiaomi said in a statement.
(Though marketed and sold via Xiaomi, the device is actually manufactured by another company like Xiaomi’s entire smart home portfolio. In this case, the rice cooker is from Xiaomi partner Chun Mi.)
Beyond rice, the cooker can also be set to make cakes, among other delicious items, too.
Xiaomi said that, beyond merely cooking rice, its cooker takes its cues from Japanese products which use a combination of pressure control, induction heating and a grey cast iron lining, all of which creates more flavorful rice.
As of now, the rice cooker will be available in China from April 6 for 999 RMB, that’s around $150. There’s no word on international launch plans, but we’ve asked for more information on that. Japanese rice cookers, which Lei Jun holds in high regard, are around four times more expensive, Xiaomi argued.
Update: Corrected the name of the Xiaomi partner that manufactures the price cooker