What happened: Xiaomi, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer revealed its first 5G smartphone at a conference in Barcelona. At $680 (about RMB 4,500), the Xiaomi model boasts a new Qualcomm chipset, the same one found in Samsung’s Galaxy 10, a 94.3 screen-to-body ratio and two back cameras which shoot video at 960 frames per second. The Mi Mix 3 5G makes 5G affordable to “normal consumers,” Xiang Wang, the company’s Senior Vice President explained and added that Xiaomi is looking towards Africa as an area with growth potential.
Why it’s important: Last week Huawei and Samsung revealed their newest models adapted for 5G networks, which are priced at $2,600 and $1,980 respectively. Smartphone producers are trying to claim their stake in the next generation of wireless technology, which promises increased speed and decreased latency, paving the way for the Internet of Things. A recent Cisco report expects 5G to account for 422 million mobile connections by 2022. This makes up only 3% of total mobile connections but will account for 12% of internet traffic. Since its founding, Xiaomi has stormed Asian markets, most notably in India, where it overtook Samsung’s phone sales in 2018. In 2017, it launched its products in the UK, Spain, France, and Italy.