Mi Button

New accessory appears to be direct clone of crowdfunding success story

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has unveiled a new accessory this morning — a programmable plug-in button that fits into Android smartphones through the headphone jack. If that sounds familiar, it's because it appears to ape a successful Kickstarter project Pressy, which raised almost $700,000 (from a goal of $40,000) to bring to market a suspiciously similar accessory.

Just like Pressy, Xiaomi's button can be programmed to trigger different actions on the phone, with up to 10 combinations available. Possibilities include everything from taking a photo with the camera to calling a specific contact. And like Pressy, it's designed to fit entirely within a phone's headphone jack, adding almost no bulk.

Tech In Asia reports that Xiaomi's button will be known as MiKey in China, launching on April 8 for just 4.9 yuan ($0.79). Meanwhile Pressy, due to ship this summer, was funded by backers paying upwards of $5, and is currently available to pre-order for $27. Today Xiaomi VP (and former Googler) Hugo Barra has taken Google+ to invite naming suggestions for the device's U.S. launch — leading to more than a few indignant comments from Pressy fans.

Source: Hugo Barra (Google+), Engadget, Tech in Asia; More: Pressy