If there is one criticism to Xiaomi's phones, it's that MIUI is fairly bloated. That's changing with MIUI 9, but there still is a learning curve associated with Xiaomi's custom skin. However, a report out of Indonesia's krispitech suggests Xiaomi is working with Google on releasing a version of the budget Mi 5X running stock Android through the Android One initiative.
The device — dubbed the Xiaomi Mi A1 — was recently spotted at POSTEL (Indonesia's version of the FCC) running software developed by Google, which could only mean an Android One device. The Android One initiative was conceived a few years ago to bring quick updates to budget devices, with Google providing the updates directly. The devices on offer were decent for the most part, but the program didn't gain much momentum in countries like India owing to poor marketing decisions.
With Android Go set to be the way forward for entry-level devices priced anywhere between $50 to $100, it looks like Android One is also primed for a comeback. Google has largely partnered with local manufacturers for Android One, but siding with a more established player like Xiaomi will undoubtedly give the program an added boost.
The phone has enticing hardware in the form of a 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 625, 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, 5MP front shooter, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and a 3080mAh battery. The highlight is the dual camera setup at the back, which is the same as the Mi 6: a primary 12MP shooter augmented by a telephoto secondary lens. Combine all of that with stock Android, the promise of quick updates, and a price tag under $250 and the Mi A1 has the potential to be one of the best budget devices of the year.
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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.