If you don’t know who Xiaomi is, you will soon. The Chinese phone manufacturer claims to have shipped 11 million phones already in 2014, and its Redmi phablet sold over 100,000 units in the first thirty minutes it became available. Why am I telling you this? To show you how far Xiaomi has come since their beginnings as little more than an iPhone clone manufacturer. They are expanding into new markets seemingly weekly and plan to leave Asia for the first time later this year by selling select devices in Europe.
Someone at Xiaomi must still think copying is a good business strategy, because Hugo Barra, who Xiaomi hired away from Google last year, just announced a new gadget. The yet-unnamed gadget plugs into a phone’s headphone jack and adds a physical button to the device. It can then be used to take pictures, play music, turn on the flashlight, record phone calls and other (yet to be announced things) things without unlocking the phone.
Sound familiar? If you spend time on Kickstarter it might. The Pressy funded on Kickstarter from August to October of last year and raised seventeen thousand, thirty-seven percent (I spelled that out so you wouldn’t think it was a typo) of its $40,000 goal. So, I guess some people thought it was a good idea. It also plugs into a phone’s headphone jack, has a button and can be used to take pictures, play music, turn on the flashlight and record phone calls.
The two devices even look similar.
Pressy gave a statement to Engadget, saying “Though the knock-off versions were anticipated, we did not expect to see it from such a respectable and known company . . . We have IP rights for the design and functionality of Pressy, and are considering our next moves to handle the situation.”
If Barra or anyone else at Xiaomi comments, we will be sure to pass that along to you.
[Photo Credit: Hugo Barra]