Pocophone: Xiaomi's chance to reinvent itself

Pocophone: Xiaomi's chance to reinvent itself

Pocophone is much more than just a sub-brand designed for emerging markets. Under the leadership of Lei Jun, it is an opportunity for Xiaomi to reinvent itself.

A flagship with no frills

The Pocophone presented itself to the world in an original way: the company wanted to bring a device to the market with great speed, that was a real racehorse, without giving up anything on the performance side, and that removed all the extra functions that other manufacturers introduce to try to distinguish their products.

Super slow motion, stylus, heart rate monitor, curved screen, a button dedicated to the digital assistant: there are all features you’ll customarily find on a smartphone, but they’re expensive. So what would happen if a flagship were to be created that removed all this frivolity?

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Luckily, Pocophone doesn’t consider the minijack port to be an extra... / © NextPit

A design that is functional but not beautiful

What immediately strikes you when you look closely at the Pocophone F1 is its polycarbonate shell, something you haven’t seen on a flagship for years and that even mid-range/high-end devices are abandoning to make room for more premium metal and glass.

It was very striking to me what Jai Mani, head of product at Pocophone, said during the presentation: “When we asked users if they wanted a glass smartphone, very few said yes.

What’s the point of making a beautiful glass smartphone if you to cover it up with a case? Our Pocophone is made of plastic so it can be used without a case and without too much fear of it breaking,” he continued. And despite what the brand found, they still included a case for people who want to protect their smartphone. They’ve also included a premium version of the Pocophone in kevlar for people who want to look at and feel the finest materials.

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The kevlar version is very charming. / © NextPit

Speed on paper is not enough

It is of no use to have a device with impressive specs, if your smartphone doesn’t perform properly in real life. That’s why Pocophone’s team has focused on squeezing the best out of their hardware. In addition to the LiquidCool technology (let’s use our imaginations) to cool the Qualcomm SoC, they’ve placed a great deal of attention on the software.

The basis for the software is MIUI 9.6, but many changes have been made. The company has optimized the responsiveness to touch and scrolling, and the animations have been modified to make the smartphone appear even faster.

AndroidPIT Pocophone launch event 141246
I’m not sure if a heat pipe on the battery is a good idea... / © NextPit

A new beginning

The Pocophone marks a new beginning for Xiaomi. Their choice to create this brand has allowed the company (and more specifically the Pocophone team) to focus on what users want without having to pay too much attention to other products. The system launcher is a good example: Poco is using a new launcher on MIUI that has an app drawer, which is completely absent in the normal MIUI.

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Everything you need, nothing more. / © NextPit

The launcher also supports third-party icon packs, and you no longer have to use special themes on the smartphone. Furthermore, the search bar at the bottom of the app drawer will compensate for the smartphone’s stretched display and its 18.7:9 format.

The smartphone will soon be completely open to modding and custom ROM thanks to Project Treble support. We’re hoping that the developer community will be attracted by this low budget product that has enormous potential.

What do you think about Xiaomi’s new brand?

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  • It is still not available in my country. I think it will be the best products for Mi. The fingerprint is little annoying position though.

  • I, for one, am really hoping that the plastic case catches on and ends the obsession with glass backs on phones. I loved how they straight up admit that few people want the glass.

  • Interesting name for a phone or for anything for that matter. I live/work in Kenya where I believe not a single sale will be made unless the name is changed to something more palatable. Kenya is the eye-opener for other East African Countries and a failure in Kenya would mean low uptake by our neighbours.
    All this because the first part of the name, "Poco" exactly sounds like its more un-palatable sister "Poko" which in these parts of the world means "Prostitute" in sh-eng (the commonly used mash of Kiswahili and English).
    No professional would be found dead with such a name on them in these parts of the world.
    Looks like a good phone but I wouldn't spend coin on a phone I couldn't use in public anywhere here.

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