Hugo Barra, perhaps best known for his involvement with the Android team in its earlier days at Google, is now based over in China working at a company late last year named as the most valuable startup in the world. Known for its high-quality budget Android phones, TV sets, smart device accessories, wearables, and more, Xiaomi hasn’t yet officially launched any of these products in the US. Barra spoke to this at Re/code‘s Code Conference recently, mentioning the company’s long-term plan to eventually make it to United States shores despite many challenges…
While it might seem like a company as big as Xiaomi should just be able to hop on over to the US, Barra says there are actually many roadblocks and things to consider before this can be possible. United States customers’ expectation of carrier subsidies can cause problems, and the company’s low prices aren’t as impactful. Also, he says there needs to first be sufficient customer service infrastructure set up, and marketing and brand-building are challenging in a country with such a low signal to noise ratio.
We don’t have a set date yet. We are working on it. I’ve said it many times. We don’t have active projects started in the US yet for smartphones, but it’s something we’re thinking about.
Xiaomi Mi Note pro is the company’s most recent accomplishment, challenging the “flagship” offerings of Samsung and Apple with a high-quality build, powerful specs, and a design that feels and looks premium. The phone sports a Snapdragon 801 processor, 4G dual-SIM, a 5.7-inch full HD display, 3,000 mAh all-day battery, and more. And all of this, as is the case with all of the company’s devices, is sold at a price that’s half (or less) of the price of its closest competitors from Samsung and Apple. Barra says the device currently costs the equivalent of $315 US dollars.
Check out the full interview for more:
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