While some Apple news sites may be 'Surprised' by Xiaomi's new Mi Notebook Air, we've known for close to a year that they were working on such a breakout product as they prepare to enter the U.S. market sometime next year. And we also reported last week that Xiaomi had surprisingly chose Windows 10 for their notebooks instead of staying with Google's operating system Chrome.
Xiaomi is aiming for the enterprise market, especially when they land in the U.S. That will mean that they'll be a force for Microsoft with their aggressive pricing while maintaining a quality build against Apple's MacBook Air for about half the price.
The pricing for the new Mi Notebook Air is a little in question. A popular tech site in India has the smaller Mi notebook with the specifications noted below selling for 3,499 Yuan which converts to roughly $US 549. US tech sites like The Verge and Engadget have different configurations and pricing.
Suffice to say that Xiaomi will likely be out to draw blood by forcing a price war on notebooks for the enterprise as early as sometime next year.
Xiaomi's Mi Notebook Air will be more of a threat to PC OEM's than to Apple's MacBook Air but could eventually appeal to more budget sized businesses if Xiaomi's new smartphones, like the Redmi Pro, adopts Windows 10 next year when Xiaomi invades the U.S. market – Something that we questioned last week.
Apple's CEO said yesterday that the demand for their new iPhone SE, Apple's economical smartphone, outstripped supply throughout the quarter. But for businesses, Xiaomi's latest smartphone called the Redmi Pro comes with a 5.5" OLED display, two backside cameras, 4GB RAM, 128GB ROM and goes for $300. If such a beast sells with Windows 10 next year, it could be a challenger to Android phones and perhaps even the iPhone for businesses that are on a budget. The savings on the new notebooks and smartphones together per employee could add up to a big savings for a small business.
For now it's only a theoretical threat on paper. We'll see what transpires if Xiaomi actually steps into the U.S. market next year. One thing that Xiaomi is likely to fail in is service. Will they only be online? Will they have brick and mortar stores? Only time will tell.
One More Thing: Xiaomi is Failing at Notebooks thus Far
According to DigiTimes today, "Chip orders for notebooks from Huawei Device and Xiaomi have fallen rapidly recently, according to industry sources.
Huawei and Xiaomi have both set their shipment goals at one million notebooks for 2016, which are likely to fail, the sources indicated. Orders placed by the two vendors already fell below 100,000 units each in March, the sources said.
Xiaomi once demanded its contract maker Inventec and other related Taiwan-based components suppliers get ready for monthly orders for as many as 300,000-400,000 notebooks, the sources noted. However, actual orders placed by the China-based firm reach only less than 50,000 units, the sources said. OUCH!