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Xiaomi Surprises With MacBook Lookalike 'Mi Notebook Air'

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi had a surprise in store for attendees of its new Redmi Pro smartphone launch event today, unveiling its first ever PC laptop, named the "Mi Notebook Air". The familiar-named $750 aluminum notebook closely resembles a MacBook and features a 13.3-inch 1080p display, up to 2.7GHz Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB solid-state storage, and a discrete Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card. Connectivity-wise, there's a USB-C port included for charging, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x HDMI, and a headphone jack. Xiaomi claimed a 9.5 hour battery life for the notebook, which weighs 2.82 pounds. The company also announced a smaller 12.5-inch (2.36 pounds) model with an Intel Core M3 CPU, 4GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and integrated graphics, costing $540 in total. Both laptops have a full-size backlit keyboard. The Windows-installed machines will be available in China from August 2, but no details regarding global availability have been given. According to CNET, Xiaomi partner Tian Mi will manufacture the Mi Notebook Air. Rumors that the smartphone maker was seeking to enter the PC laptop market have been bubbling for a while, and its unapologetically titled debut offering leaves no doubt the company is seeking to emulate – not to mention compete against – Apple in the Chinese market, albeit in the form of a more budget-conscious package. Xiaomi saw flat revenues last year, with the struggling smartphone sector making up 90 percent of its sales. The move shows the company sees untapped potential in the Chinese consumer notebook

Xiaomi Announces 'Redmi Pro' Smartphone With 5.5-Inch OLED Display and Dual-Lens Camera

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi today announced a new smartphone, called the Redmi Pro, during an event in Beijing, China, where it also surprised attendees with the 'Mi Notebook Air'. As TechCrunch pointed out, the company's Redmi line of smartphone devices angle toward the low-cost spectrum of handsets, with most models costing around $150, allowing the company to move over 110 million models in the last three years. A few additions to the Redmi Pro place it on the higher-end of that spectrum, since the new smartphone is the first in the Redmi family to have an OLED display, a larger 5.5-inch screen, and -- perhaps most notably -- pack in a dual-camera system. Specifically, the two lenses are a 13-megapixel Sony IMX258 sensor and a 5-megapixel Samsung sensor, and will result in image quality on par with DSLR-style cameras, according to the company. Other than these features, the Redmi Pro also has a 4050 mAh battery, a USB Type-C charging port, up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB internal memory, an expected fingerprint sensor for biometric security, and three color options: gold, grey, and silver. Pricing for the Redmi Pro begins at $225 (1,499 Yuan) for 3GB RAM with 32GB of storage, $255 (1,699 Yuan) for 3GB RAM with 64GB of storage, and $300 (1,999 Yuan) for 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage. According to Xiaomi, the difference between the 3GB and 4GB RAM models is a faster and more powerful GPU and Helio X25 chipset. The Redmi Pro -- which will launch on August 6 in China -- is debuting at a time when higher-quality smartphone cameras have begun to stand out as

Fitbit Continues to Outpace Apple Watch in Broader Wearables Market

The latest data from market research firm IDC reveals that the Apple Watch remained the most popular smartwatch in the first quarter, with an estimated 1.5 million sales and 46 percent market share through the first three months of 2016. Meanwhile, basic wearables unsurprisingly continue to outpace smartwatches. Samsung was the closest threat to Apple Watch among smartwatches in the quarter, with an estimated 700,000 sales and 20.9 percent market share, followed by Motorola, Huawei, and Garmin with estimated 400,000, 200,000, and 100,000 shipments respectively for a combined 18.6 percent market share. Apple finished third in the overall wearables market with 7.5 percent market share, behind lower-price fitness tracker vendors Fitbit and Xiaomi. Fitbit commanded a leading 24.5 percent market share off an estimated 4.8 million shipments, while Xiaomi had 3.7 million shipments for 19 percent market share. Apple does not disclose Watch sales in its quarterly earning results, instead grouping the device under its Other Products category alongside iPods, Apple TVs, Beats Electronics, and accessories. IDC and Strategy Analytics estimates place total Apple Watch sales at nearly 16 million from April 2015 through March 2016.Fitbit began 2016 the same way it finished 2015: as the undisputed leader in the wearables market. The launch of its new Alta and Blaze devices resulted in million unit shipment volumes for each, pointing to a new chapter of fashion-oriented fitness trackers. It also points to significant declines for its previously successful Surge, Charge, Charge

IDC Estimates Apple Watch Sales Totaled 3.6 Million in Second Quarter

The latest data from market research firm IDC estimates Apple Watch sales totaled 3.6 million worldwide in the second quarter of 2015, making it the second most popular wearable device during the three-month period ending June 30. Apple was within striking distance of market leader Fitbit, which sold an estimated 4.4 million fitness trackers in the second quarter. IDC estimates that Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi trailed in third place with 3.1 million wearables shipped in the quarter, representing 17.1% market share. Garmin and Samsung rounded off the top five with 700,000 (3.9%) and 600,000 (3.3%) wearables shipped respectively, while all other vendors accounted for a combined 5.7 million shipments and 31.5% market share. Last month, Strategy Analytics estimated 4 million Apple Watch sales in the second quarter, so IDC's estimate is within close range. Apple has not disclosed Apple Watch sales numbers since it launched in April, instead grouping the wrist-worn device with iPod, Apple TV and Beats Electronics accessories under an "Other Products" category in quarterly earnings reports. Apple CEO Tim Cook vaguely mentioned that Apple Watch sales have "exceeded expectations" during an earnings call last

Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra Defends Against Copycat Accusations in New Interview

Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra, who came to the company from Google, today did an interview with Bloomberg where he once again spoke out in defense against copycat accusations that have been levied against the company. According to Barra, all of the copycat claims come from a single iPhone 5-style chamfered edge on a Xiaomi device. "Yes, it does look like an iPhone 5 and that chamfered edge, by the way, is present in so many other devices." Xiaomi's Mi Note He went on to say that the accusations were the result of a bias against Chinese companies. "People couldn't bring themselves to believe a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products." When asked if the recent Mi Note looks like an iPhone 6 Plus, Barra laughed it off and said "it's white like an iPhone 6 Plus." He said accusations of copying weren't fair, because these days, every smartphone looks like every other smartphone on the market. I just don't think we can allow a company to take ownership of things that just are how they are, right? I think if you look at what we've designed in the last 12 months you understand how much originality there is in what we do. And to be honest, I think you're going to see a lot more happening the opposite direction, people taking inspiration off what we do.Over the course of four years, Chinese electronics company Xiaomi has managed to become the world's third largest smartphone distributor, competing with the likes of Lenovo, LG, Samsung, and Apple. Its devices, ranging from smartphones to tablets, have been public

Tim Cook Joins Weibo as iPhone Sales Remain Strong in China

Apple CEO Tim Cook has expanded his social media presence by creating an account on Chinese microblogging service Weibo, where he has already accumulated over 325,000 followers as of writing. Cook's first post on Weibo reflects on his current visit to Beijing to announce new environmental initiatives in China, including a new multi-year forestland program in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. "Hello China! Happy to be back in Beijing, announcing innovative new environmental programs," wrote Cook, followed by a Chinese translation of the same message. Last month, Apple announced a partnership with SunPower Corporation to build two 20-megawatt solar power plants that will provide more than enough energy to power all of Apple's corporate offices and retail stores in China. Coinciding with Cook's visit to China this week, market research firm IDC has released new data for the smartphone market that reveals Apple was the largest smartphone vendor in China during the first quarter of 2015. Apple shipped 14.5 million smartphones in China during the quarter for 14.7% market share, while Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi trailed in second with 13.5 million shipments and 13.7% market share. Huawei, Samsung and Lenovo rounded off the top five smartphone vendors in China during the first quarter, although IDC notes that each vendor's rankings often change quickly due to the volatility of consumer brand preference in China. Samsung and Lenovo, for example, both led the market at least once last year, but ranked fourth and fifth in the first quarter respectively."Apple