The Chinese low-cost smartphone maker Xiaomi is further expanding its business by making affordable drones for Chinese consumers, which are expected to be available sometime this summer.
Industry sources at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Asia in Shanghai last week told SCMP that Xiaomi already conducted its first drone flight test earlier this year
Competing against DJ-Innovations, the leading drone manufacturer in China, Xiaomi’s pricing for the drone will determine its success in the Chinese market. The drone, however, isn’t ready for an official launch just yet. Apparently, the firm’s original design was too similar to DJI’s phantom drone.
“The result [of the flying test] was good and smooth. Now Xiaomi only needs to make some minor adjustments, especially with its layout design, so the Xiaomi drone won’t look too much like DJI’s,” an insider told the Post.
Other sources say that Xiaomi is planning to launch the drones this summer, although the pricing has not been revealed.
The Chinese electronics giant has earned the nickname xiaotou (thief) due to its reputation for shamelessly reproducing gadgets from competitors then offering them at a fraction of the price. This include’s Xiaomi’s version of the GoPro, which was unveiled in March. Last year, the company rolled out a phone-controlled air purifier very similar to one made by a Japanese company and Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design, even remarked about constant comparisons between the iPhone and Xiaomi handsets during a tech summit last year, saying, “It is theft and it is lazy. I don’t think it is ok at all.”
Meanwhile, Chinese company Beijing Palo Alto Tech Co. Ltd showcased its own copycat version of Google Glass at the same electronics show last week.
[Image via TechnoBuffalo]
By Sharon Choi