China is the biggest smartphone market in the world and right now Xiaomi dominates it despite the fact that the company came into existence in 2010. It already beats Samsung and Apple in China despite offering nothing original. But, whatever it does, even being unoriginal, it does it with great affection and style, according to this Ars Technica review of a randomly chosen Xiaomi phones, Mi4. Marvellous execution of whatever it copies and borrows, is the key, according to the review. In fact, the skinned version of Android called “MIUI” that most of the Xiaomi phones use works even faster than the actual Android stock version. Just like CyanogenMod you can download MIUI and install it even on a non-Xiaomi phone like Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola.
A few days ago I had written that it wouldn’t be much attractive to purchase a Xiaomi phone because it doesn’t support Google Apps and people who have already gotten accustomed to using the normal Android apps will keep a distance from a device that does not allow them to use their usual apps. Recent reports that less and less people are downloading apps from Google apps may be working in Xiaomi’s advantage. Less people downloading apps means that less people are dependent upon that particular app store. But then it can also be a disadvantage: whereas Apple is a hardware company (gets most of its revenue by selling hardware products) Google and Xiaomi are betting on the apps and other content that they’re able to sell to people using compatible devices. That was a big reason why Google in the first place allowed various smartphone companies to use its open source operating system. Xiaomi sells its mobile phones quite cheap because it intends to make it up by enabling people to purchase and download content from its own store. But for this to happen on a sustainable level these companies will need to make apps an integral part of the day-to-day using of the smartphone.