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.
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.
There's also a new smart app launcher that suggests apps to launch based on context in your conversations.
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.
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the Android Central team.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.