Google has found a committed Android One partner in Xiaomi. The Chinese electronics giant today launched in India the Mi A3 (its third Android One smartphone in recent years) as the company looks to expand its handset offering in its most important market.
The Mi A3 features mid to high-end hardware modules and follows Xiaomi’s tradition of punching above its price class. It sports a 6.088-inch HD+ (1560X720 pixels) AMOLED display, a trio of 48MP, 8MP and 2MP camera sensors on the back to capture detailed and sharp photos and a 32MP selfie shooter.
The Mi A3 comes in two variants: one bundles 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. It is priced at Rs 12,999 ($181). The second variant, which features 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, is priced at Rs 15,999 ($223). Both of them are powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor.
A lot about Android One’s future is riding on the Mi A3, which was first unveiled by Xiaomi in Spain last month. Xiaomi said the Mi A1 and Mi A2 handsets that it launched in last two years remain the most popular Android One handsets.
For Android One, a program announced by Google in 2014, the Android maker works with phone vendors closely to ensure timely software updates and a clean and “stock” Android experience without the bells and whistles that carriers and phone companies pre-install on their devices.
Android One saw significant momentum in its early years when many top smartphone vendors, including LG, HTC and Motorola, launched several handsets under the program. But until recently, it appeared that Google’s initiative was losing its momentum.
Xiaomi, which ships MIUI Android skin on its standard smartphones, has tried to not cut any corners to make up the cost, Manu Jain, the head of Xiaomi India and VP of Global operations, said at a media conference in New Delhi Wednesday.
(Xiaomi makes a significant amount of its revenue from its services and apps, all of which are not pre-installed on the Mi A3 handset.)
On the contrary, Jain said Xiaomi has added some of the familiar features to appease users. The Mi A3 handset houses a fairly large 4030mAh battery, a 3.5mm headphone jack and supports external microSD card should you need more storage — three things that are too often too much to ask for.
Xiaomi says it has also incorporated a fingerprint sensor into the display to allow users to quickly unlock the phone. (It also supports unlocking via facial recognition.) You can check the rest of the specs here. The Mi A3 will go on sale in India through Amazon India and Xiaomi’s own online store this Friday. It will hit the brick and mortar retail stores at a later stage.
For Xiaomi, which entered India in 2014, the world’s second largest internet and smartphone market has become its most important region. The company has been the top smartphone vendor in India for eight straight quarters.