Google is reviving Android One with Xiaomi Mi A1
Google is not giving up on the Android One program yet, and has joined hands with Chinese company Xiaomi for a new smartphone called Mi A1. It will be available at Rs14,999 on Flipkart.com, Mi.com, Mi stores and other retail stores from 12 September. It will have a single 4GB+64GB variant, but will come in three colour options. The black and gold coloured units will be available from the beginning, while the rose gold version will roll out next month. The after-sales services for Mi A1 will be handled by Xiaomi.
Android One is a Google initiative that strives to make quality Android smartphones with stock Android experience available to users at affordable prices. The initial crop of Android One smartphones came a couple of years ago, from Indian phonemakers such as Micromax, Spice, Karbonn and Lava. They offered basic specs and were available at entry-level prices. However, the initiative didn’t really take off as the devices were too modest and had no outstanding feature to draw users. Google has decided to up the game and offer better hardware on Android smartphones.
The MI A1 is very different from anything we have seen in Android One before so far. It is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor and has 4GB RAM. It provides 64 GB storage and accepts microSD cards. It has a 5.5-inch display with resolution of 1,920x1,080p and has a layer of Gorilla Glass 3 over it. This makes it the most powerful Android One phone, thus far.
It runs Android 7.1 and the purest form of Android, similar to the one seen on Pixel smartphones. It will receive all Google updates like Pixel smartphones (Android Oreo will be available via OTA in December 2017) and users will also get free unlimited cloud storage for high-quality photos and videos. In other smartphones, users get only 15GB of cloud storage for free.
The other unique feature of the Mi A1 is that it comes with two pyrolytic graphite sheets, which can diffuse and radiate heat faster than phones which have only one such sheet. It has USB Type-C and supports fast charging.
The Xiaomi A1 will be competing with the Moto G5s Plus (Rs15,999) and LG’s Q6 (Rs14,999). The Moto G5s Plus runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM. It offers 64GB storage and gives the option to add 128GB more via microSD card. The LG Q6 is driven by an inferior Snapdragon 435 octa-core chipset and has 3GB RAM. It offers 32GB internal storage and accepts micro SD cards of up to 256GB.
The Mi A1 has a unibody metal design with rounded edges. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the back. It weighs 165g and is 7.3mm thick. The Moto G5s Plus also has a metal back, but is slightly thicker at 8mm. LG Q6 is most compact of the three. It has a near bezel-less front panel which includes a 5.5-inch display, yet it stands just 149mm tall and weighs 149g. The Mi A1 is 155.4mm long, while the Moto G5s Plus, which also offers a 5.5-inch display, is 153.5mm long.
The other key highlight of the Mi A1 are the dual 12-megapixel cameras, where one camera has a wide angle lens and the other offers 2x optical zoom. Dual camera on a budget smartphone is also available in Honor 6x, Coolpad Cool 1 and Moto G5s Plus. But 2x optical zoom is still limited to mid-range smartphones.