Xiaomi had a busy CES, showing off its nearly bezel-less Mi Mix smartphone, while also unveiling a 4K TV and a router. There's just one catch: None of those products — the Mi Mix, the Mi TV 4 or the Mi Router HD — are coming to the U.S.
To date, the Mi Box, a $69 TV set-top box that offers 4K streaming, is the only Xiaomi product to find its way to the U.S. With the Chinese company hosting its first CES event this week, some expected that to change, but it sounds as if a push into the U.S. market won't happen anytime soon, even though company executives have said the U.S. is very much in Xiaomi's plans.
So when can we expect Xiaomi to fully dive into the U.S. market? "The U.S. is a pretty complicated market," Donovan Sung, director of product and marketing for Xiaomi Global told me when I asked him that question. "What we're looking for is the right time and right product."
Instead of serving as Xiaomi's U.S. coming out party, Sung said the company saw its CES appearance and its bustling booth on the show floor as a way to "tell the Xiaomi story."
That means emphasizing the company's philosophy of "innovation for everyone," Sung said, which is what the company sought to do not just at its show floor booth, set up to resemble one of the company's Mi Home stores in China, but also in the products it opted to unveil at CES.
The Mi Mix launched last year — Xiaomi rolled out a white version of the smartphone at the show — but this was the first chance for many Americans in attendance to actually see the phone in person. The 6.4-inch display on the Mi Mix takes up nearly all of the phone's face. There's a little bit of a bezel at the bottom to accomodate capacitive touch buttons, but otherwise all you see when you look directly at the phone is screen. It's about as close to an edge-to-edge display that exists on the smartphone market right now.
"Seeing the Mix and hearing about the Mix are probably two different things," said Sung, as a few feet away from us, show-goers were gathered around the display area to get a load of the Mix's ceramic design.
"We try to pack one innovation into every product," Sung said, pointing to the newly announced Mi TV 4 as an option. The 4K set is 4.9 millimeters thin — that's thinner than most smartphones. (That's the thinnest TV Xiaomi ever made, though LG could boast an even thinner TV at this year's CES.) Essentially, the TV is just a screen, with its motherboard and other electronics moved to a sound bar that comes with the set. An AI recommendation service looks at your viewing history and predicts what upcoming shows you might want to watch in the future.
Xiaomi put all that in a 65-inch TV set that's going to sell for the equivalent of $2,000. "That spec-to-price ratio is not something you commonly see," Sung said.
It's something U.S. consumers hope to eventually see though, once Xiaomi settles on its plans for this country.