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Friday, April 03, 2020

Xiaomi blog: Mi MIX Alpha is coming to India or is it?

In this week's Xiaomi blog, we take a look at the Mi MIX Alpha and how it will be showcased in India soon. And we also ask, where's that Mi phone with the 108MP camera?

Written by Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi | Published: February 24, 2020 5:19:23 pm
Xiaomi, Xiaomi MI MIX Alpha, Mi MIX Alpha, Mi MIX Alpha specifications, Mi MIX Alpha features, Mi MIX Alpha 5G, Mi MIX Alpha 5G price in India The Mi MIX Alpha shown off by Xiaomi during a press briefing in India. (Image: Shruti Dhapola/ Indian Express)

It is getting ridiculous, and frankly a little irritating. I’m referring to the inane Twitter battle over who is bringing a 5G phone to India first. Turns out the answer is Realme for now, though iQoo is not far behind and apparently Xiaomi is now following suit. The Mi MIX Alpha is headed to India, but before you get excited, a word of caution. This is not really going on sale.

Xiaomi is showcasing the Mi MIX Alpha, in Mi Homes across the country, and it is starting with the Embassy Tech Village and Indiranagar in Bangalore. I repeat, this is not up for an actual purchase.

Remember the Mi MIX Alpha is Xiaomi’s ambitious concept phone, which has a screen on all four sides, and showcases a new kind of flexible display. This one is not easy to manufacture. In fact, Xiaomi had showcased the phone earlier to select media in India, and executives had told us that even if the device were to ever come to India, the cost would be prohibitively expensive. And unlike other ‘hands-on’ sessions, Xiaomi had a strict ‘DON’T TOUCH’ policy for the Mi MIX Alpha units in the room.  

Right now, the China price is Yuan 19,999 or nearly Rs 2,05,232 for this phone. And that’s a mind boggling number to pay for a futuristic device, which is yet to be tested. Plus the Mi MIX Alpha had some production issues in China too.

The phone was supposed to go on sale in December, but that didn’t happen. The reason for the delay was likely the technical challenges and manufacturing issues. It was only in January that Xiaomi’s China executives said the phone was ready for mass production, though given the kind of display and just how unique the design is, expect this to release only in limited quantities.

Read our previous Xiaomi blog | Xiaomi blog 2 | Xiaomi blog 3

All of this begs the question: So what purpose does showing off the Mi MIX Alpha serve, especially if people can’t buy it? Well, given Xiaomi wants to play in the more premium segment, and so it would make sense to showcase its most premium device in the market. One can argue it might help shake up the image that has been set by Redmi phones, which are excellent devices, but seen as ‘affordable’ phones.

I have seen the Mi MIX Alpha in person, and it does look stunning, though in a very fragile way. After all, it is all screen at the front, the sides and even at the back. While the specifications are impressive, it does raises questions around the practical use case such a phone.

Unlike the Galaxy Z Flip or the Moto Razr or even the Galaxy Fold, the Mi MIX Alpha is a very different take on a flexible display. The Galaxy Z Flip and Moto Razr are the familiar clamshell design with the foldable display, the Galaxy Fold can become a bigger tablet.The Mi MIX Alpha, well there’s a lot of screen extending on the back and sides, and while it is something unique, it is not something every user might be keen to adopt.

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In fact, more than the Mi MIX Alpha, I’m really interested to see if Xiaomi does bring the Mi 10 to India, something that was subtly hinted at by India head Manu Kumar Jain earlier on Twitter. The Mi 10 also sports a 108MP camera, and there’s a plenty of indication that should the flagship phone come to India, it won’t be ‘mid-range,’ and Xiaomi might charge a higher premium on this one.

Xiaomi India has been going on about a 108MP camera phone coming to India for a while now The first quarter of 2020 just has over a month left and so far, there’s no word on which exact phone will be coming to India. There’s the Mi Note 10 Pro which has a 108MP camera, the Mi MIX Alpha is coming but only for showcase and of course, the Mi 10. Will the Mi phone with 108MP camera finally come to India? Guess the wait continues.

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