At a media event in New Delhi, Xiaomi's global VP Hugo Barra unveiled the global ROM for MIUI 7. The latest iteration of the ROM — which has over 150 million users globally — comes with a bevy of new features, including new themes, better battery life, lockscreen animations, and much more.
MIUI 7 will feature four system UIs at launch: Rosè, Pink Blush, Ocean Breeze and High Life. Xiaomi talked at length about the amount of attention that went into designing the Rosè UI, from the selection of the primary and secondary colors as well as icons, backgrounds, the flowing lines of the lockscreen and more.
The Pink Blush UI follows along a similar theme, with a focus on rounder icons and a more youthful design. Ocean Breeze — as the name signifies, features blue color accents interlaced with white, and High Life wounding off the stock themes with black and gold colors.
Xiaomi shared numbers on the state of themes in MIUI, with over 15,000 themes available in the MIUI store that have racked up 3.7 billion downloads to date. With the launch of the MIUI 7, Xiaomi announced Muse, a new tool for designers to easily create new themes. A focus with the new engine is animated lockscreens, and Xiaomi showcased several themes built on the new engine.
Using Muse, you can create a series of interesting ways to unlock your handset, including an Instruments theme that allows you to set a customized pattern of guitar or piano keys or drum beats. There's even a Panda theme through which you can play a Bejeweled-style match-three game on your lockscreen. For Indian fans, Xiaomi made a full-fledged cricket theme, along with a Bollywood theme, both of which have playable elements from the lockscreen.
The one we were most excited about is a football theme that shows live scores from your favorite teams directly on the lockscreen. You can also configure the lockscreen to show live information about stocks.
Other customization options include a daily lockscreen mode, which automatically changes your lockscreen to a high-resolution image licensed by Xiaomi. The manufacturer mentioned that it licensed hundreds of award-winning images for daily lockscreen.
Theming has been an integral element of MIUI, and with MIUI 7, Xiaomi is building upon that with the launch of animated lockscreens.
Optimizations, Auto DND and Data Saver
Xiaomi was able to improve how fast stock apps load in MIUI 7 by clubbing the time taken to load data and animations into a single stage, clocking the CPU higher during the load stages. The result is that users should see an increase of 30 percent when loading the stock apps.
You also get fine-tuned controls to restrict apps from using background data, ensuring additional gains in battery life. Xiaomi has mentioned that users would see a net gain of 10 percent battery life when making the switch from MIUI 6 to MIUI 7.
Another new feature is XXL Text, which brings the number of font sizes available in MIUI 7 to five. There's a new Child Mode, through which you can whitelist apps that can be accessed by children. You can also mute app notifications directly from the lockscreen.
Other features include Auto DND, which when paired with the Mi Band automatically mutes your handset when it detects that you're asleep. Showtime allows you to record a five-second video to set as a profile, which will show up when you call a contact.
Xiaomi also debuted Data Saver, which uses Actually Opera's Max compression technology to reduce data usage by as much as 50 percent. This is a system-level feature that works across several apps, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and others.
The feature made its debut in China last year — provided by a local partner, and XIaomi is now rolling it out to all international markets in collaboration with Opera.
Xiaomi has mentioned that the MIUI user base doubled over the course of the last year, with users from all over the world actively contributing to the community. The beta build of MIUI 7 will be available for all Xiaomi handsets starting Monday, August 25.
MIUI in India
Xiaomi has a dedicated product team in India tasked with building local services such as Visual IVR. The feature allows you to navigate IVR menus of over 50 service providers by showing all menu options on-screen, saving valuable time.
There's also SMart SMS Filter, which collates all service messages from banks, e-commerce promotions and others into a single tab, which prevents your regular inbox from getting cluttered.
Quick OTP solves a major pain point for most customers transacting online. With all online transactions using a credit card requiring two-factor authentication in the form of a OTP sent to a user's handset, there is considerable effort in carrying out a purchase online. With Quick OTP, you can quickly copy an incoming OTP as soon as you get the notification from your bank.
We'll have more to share on MIUI 7 over the coming weeks. Until then, what is your favorite feature in the latest version of the ROM?