Xiaomi is now firmly entrenched in India's handset market, but the brand is primarily associated with being a budget player. While the Chinese manufacturer launched the Mi Mix 2 in India last year, reception was lukewarm as best as customers were unwilling to shell out over ₹30,000 ($435) for a Xiaomi phone.
Xiaomi is now looking to break the mold with a new sub-brand called Poco, which is being led by Jai Mani. Mani joined Xiaomi from Google back in 2014 as Lead Product Manager, and subsequently became a key figure in the company's product launches in India. The exec tweeted a manifesto for Poco on Twitter, starting that the project was born out of a need to make a phone with technologies "that truly matter:"
Mani didn't go into details on the upcoming Pocophone, but numerous leaks over the last two weeks give us a better idea of what's in store. The first Poco phone will be called the Pocophone F1, and it will be powered by the Snapdragon 845. Interestingly, the phone also sports liquid cooling, and a 4000mAh battery, IR blaster — a mainstay on Xiaomi phones — along with a 20MP front camera that has face unlock, 3.5mm jack, and USB-C. And like most Android phones in the market today, the F1 will have a notch.
The Pocophone F1 is set to be sold in two variants: a 6GB/64GB model that is rumored to cost in the vicinity of $480 and a 6GB/128GB version for $540. Poco will bring the devices to global markets as well as India, and current rumors indicate a launch sometime next month or early October.
Xiaomi launching a sub-brand to target the mid-range segment is a smart move, as it allows the company to go up against the likes of OnePlus more effectively. That said, how Pocophone fares will come down to the software, as one of the main reasons for the OnePlus 6's success in India is OxygenOS. We should be hearing more about the company in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, what do you want to see from the Pocophone F1?