Update: Another explanation for the frame not quite matching the previous Xiaomi Mi 5 leaks perfectly is that it’s a photoshopped image of a different handset. Reliable leaker, Steve Hemmerstoffer posted comparisons with an Oppo chassis leak, which looks virtually identical to today’s images. It’s plausible that someone has doctored these to include the Mi logo.

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Xiaomi is expected to release its next flagship smartphone sometime next month, after one of the company’s chiefs told his followers on Weibo that a new phone was to be launched after the Chinese New Year. While he didn’t share a great number of in-depth details we do know that it’ll be powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor.

Recently, the front panel of Xiaomi’s Mi 5 leaked, giving us a glimpse of what we can expect from the next Mi handset. Over the weekend, further images were published by CNBeta claiming to show the metal rear panel in great detail. On first impressions, it looks very familiar

Like the HTC One A9 and iPhone 6, it’s an all-metal back panel with an antenna band on each end. Corners are rounded, and edges are curved while the bottom edge features 7 individually machined holes where the speaker will sit, and cutouts for the USB connector, 3.5mm jack and microphone. There are also two small holes either side of the USB port, presumably for screws which hold the USB connector to the frame.

Of all the details revealed in this alleged leak, it’s the bottom edge which causes the most questions to be asked. Mostly, is this definitely the Mi 5? The most recent Mi 5 leak showed the top edge of the device, which also featured 3.5mm jack. Since it’s highly improbable that a device would have two 3.5mm audio outputs, we have to assume that either a) one of the leaks is inaccurate or b) these are two different devices. This could, for instance, be the Xiaomi Mi 5 Plus, rather than the Mi 5.

Whatever this device is, it’s clear Xiaomi is keen to follow in line with the current fashionable all-metal design trend.

It’s expected that Xiaomi will announce its next phones some time around the end of February, with an almost immediate launch to market. It’s predicted to have the usual two options of 3GB or 4GB RAM with either 16GB or 64GB of storage respectively. The main camera is rumored to feature a 16MP sensor, while the battery is claimed to have a capacity of 3,600mAh, and it’s expected to launch running Android Marshmallow with Xiaomi’s own custom MIUI skin on top.

Whatever Xiaomi ends up announcing next month, it’ll be more interesting watch and see whether it has any plans to officially launch its own products within more western markets. It’s been rumored a number of times that the Chinese manufacturer wants to establish a presence in the US, and with Huawei having successfully done so, the company needs to follow suit if it wants to compete on a global scale.

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