By and large, it’s hard to get excited about smartphones targeted for a Chinese audience. While we occasionally hear about some very impressive hardware, such handsets rarely see wide release in the West. Still, even when the chances of getting our hands on such hardware is pretty low, it can still be worth paying attention to for signs of where the smartphone market in general is heading. The latest Chinese phone to catch our attention in such a manner has us wondering just how cheap high-end hardware could soon become.
Xiaomi released its M1/MI-ONE last year, an S3-based dual-core handset running a custom MIUI ROM. A little later on, we looked into rumors about a possible sequel to the M1 with some specs that were just a bit preposterous-sounding: things like a 2.5GHz processor and 2.5GB of RAM. Today we hear about this model again, now with some slightly more realistic hardware specs, as well as a shockingly low price.
The Xiaomi MI-2 would supposedly run a quad-core SoC (presumably at a more sensible clock speed in the 1.2-1.5GHz range) and feature a 720p display. While we’re not necessarily expecting it to be another Galaxy S III, it’s sounding like it will definitely be in the upper Android echelons (at least if it arrives next month, like planned). For all the quad-core, HD hardware, the MI-2 will supposedly cost what works out to only $313.
For an off-contract smartphone, that’s one price that’s going to be tough to beat. We’ve been wondering about when we’ll see smartphones come down in price to be as affordable as similarly-equipped tablets; the MI-2 could well be an early example of just such a device.