MIUI 9 goes live with UI tweaks, smart assistant, and split-screen mode

At a media event in China, Xiaomi showed off the next iteration of its popular ROM, MIUI 9. MIUI is Xiaomi's first product, with the first version of the ROM launching all the way back in 2010. Seven years later, the ROM has racked up over 2.8 billion downloads from 142 countries, and is translated into 55 languages. The Chinese manufacturer introduced a visual refresh last year with MIUI 8, and with MIUI 9, the focus is on refining the user interface and adding new features.

To that effect, Xiaomi is touting increased app load times thanks to optimized thread scheduling and CPU acceleration. The company also improved haptic feedback, and is introducing a new allocation model wherein the system prioritizes resources for in-use apps.

MIUI 9 resource allocation

A new feature coming to MIUI 9 is a smart assistant that lets you search through apps, notes, images, and more to find the information you're looking for. There's also a new universal image search that lets you find images of a particular person or photos taken at a specific location.

MIUI 9 smart assistant

There's also a new smart app launcher that suggests apps to launch based on context in your conversations.

MIUI 9 smart launcher

One of the more notable omissions in earlier versions of MIUI was the lack of a split-screen mode, and with MIUI 9, Xiaomi is rectifying that. The multi-window mode allows you to run two apps side-by-side, which comes in useful on devices like the Mi Max 2. Finally, the icons have picked up a much-needed visual refresh, and look much more modern.

The customizability of MIUI is also one of its biggest drawbacks, as the sheer number of features led to the interface becoming bloated and laggy. The optimizations should go a long way in addressing that problem.

Xiaomi mentions that most of the new additions — including the smart assistant, universal image search, and smart app launcher — will be limited to the Chinese version of the ROM for now. We should know more about what's included in the global MIUI 9 build in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.