Xiaomi has reiterated what feels like a half dozen times that the United States is in its long-term view, so that shouldn’t come as much surprise to those who have payed close attention to the words of VP of International Hugo Barra, and more recently, reports from The Wall Street Journal. But interestingly, we now have tangible evidence that the company might be doing just a bit more than just “thinking” about coming to the US. If new documents (via Lilliputing) are to be believed, the company is already seeking FCC approval to bring one of its phones, the Xiaomi Redmi 2 Pro, to the United States…
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Of course this isn’t any kind of conclusive proof that Xiaomi’s US launch is imminent — in fact, we know from Hugo Barra himself that there are many more barriers to releasing a phone in the US than simply getting FCC approval. One of the many barriers he mentioned earlier this year is the need to build customer support infrastructure stateside, and based on second-hand accounts, that is far from established. (A friend relayed to me a horrible experience they had trying to buy one of the company’s $14 power banks, which they ordered a month ago and has yet to arrive.)
Here’s what Hugo Barra had to say earlier this year:
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.
The Redmi 2 Pro, should it land in the United States, is definitely in the mid- to low-range of Xiaomi’s spectrum. The phone has a 4.7-inch IPS HD display, a Snapdragon 410 processor, 16 GB of internal storage, 2 GB of RAM, a 2,200 mAh battery, the usual 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, and support for 4G LTE. You’ll also find that it has a 2-megapixel front camera and an 8-megapixel back camera, and as far as I can tell, you’ll be opening the box to find that it run Android 4.4 KitKat. It goes without saying that if this were to come to the US, most Android enthusiasts (or even Xiaomi enthusiasts) wouldn’t bat an eye.