May 25, 2022

Xiaomi: Huge Camera Sensor in Mi 12S Ultra Flagship 

Xiaomi is introducing a trio of new smartphones today, and one of them comes with a pretty powerful new feature: a 1-inch camera sensor, which is relatively giant for a smartphone.

The Mi 12S Ultra is big. It has a 6.73-inch OLED display, a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 system on a chip, and a camera-lens-shaped bulge on the back that takes up about a third of the phone’s rear side.

Inside that faux-lens are the phone’s three cameras: a 48 Megapixel Ultrawide, a 48-megapixel telephoto with 5x optical zoom, and finally, the 50-megapixel primary camera, which uses that 1-inch sensor.

A few companies have put 1-inch sensors in their phones before, but it hasn’t been widespread — you’re more likely to find 1-inch sensors in higher-end point-and-shoots like Sony’s RX100 series. The larger size allows the sensor to gather more light and capture more detailed images. It won’t turn a phone into a DSLR, but it could be a step up from the typical smartphone camera; the iPhone 13 Pro, for instance, has a sensor size of 1/1.65-inch.

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Xiaomi says the phone’s camera system was “co-engineered with Leica,” and the company told Engadget that it split the cost of developing the 1-inch image sensor with Sony. Sony released a phone using a 1-inch sensor late last year. However, it only captured part of the sensor, whereas Xiaomi’s phone will reportedly use the whole thing.

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Camera aside, the Mi 12S Ultra otherwise has the typical hallmarks of a flagship phone. It has IP68 water and dust resistance, a large 4,860 mAh battery, 67W wired fast charging, and a 120Hz refresh rate display. The phone is also supposed to be the first Android device capable of shooting in Dolby Vision HDR.

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The 12S Ultra will launch first in China. A model has 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM will sell for RMB 5,999 (around USD 900), while a high-end rendition with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage will go for RMB 6,999 (approximately USD 1,050).

In addition to the 12S Ultra, Xiaomi is introducing two lower-end models: the 12S and 12S Pro. Those two phones have the primary camera sensor with a 1/1.28-inch size, smaller than the Ultra but still more significant than the typical smartphone sensor. In addition, the 12S has a smaller 6.28-inch 120Hz display, while the 12S Pro has a 6.73-inch 120Hz OLED display, like the Ultra. Both get the same Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip. Pricing for the 12S starts at RMB 3,999 (USD 600), and pricing for the 12S Pro starts at RMB 4,699 (USD 700).

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N the 2021 review of WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators, Xiaomi was ranked 2nd in the world, with 216 strategies in industrial design registrations being published under the Hague System during 2020. This position is up on their last 3rd place ranking in 2019 for 111 industrial design registrations being issued.

On 8 February 2022, Lei unleashed a statement on Weibo to reveal plans for Xiaomi to enter the high-end smartphone need and surpass Apple as the top vendor of premium smartphones in China in three years. To reach that goal, Xiaomi will invest US$15.7 billion in R&D over the next five years, and the business will benchmark its products and user experience against Apple’s product lines. Lei related the new strategy as a “life-or-death battle for our development” after Xiaomi’s market share in China was acquired over consecutive quarters, from 17% to 14% between QII and QIII 2021, dipping additionally to 13.2% as of QIV 2021.

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Xiaomi conducts Indian smartphone sales in Q1. Xiaomi is one of the smartphone makers in India, which maintains device affordability. Harman Kardon has cooperated with Xiaomi for its newest smartphones, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 series are the first mobiles to feature with Harman Kardon-tuned dual speaker setup.

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In 2022, Leica Camera documented a strategic partnership with Xiaomi to develop Leica cameras to be used in Xiaomi’s flagship Android smartphones, succeeding in the collaboration between Huawei and Leica. Xiaomi will launch the first flagship smartphone under this new partnership in July 2022.

In 2011 its CEO Lei Jun indicated there are more meanings than just the “millet and rice.” He attached the “Xiao” part to the Buddhist vision that “a single grain of rice of a Buddhist is as great as a mountain,” meaning that Xiaomi enjoys working from the little things instead of starting by striving for perfection. At the same time, “mi” is an acronym for Mobile Internet and “mission impossible,” referring to the obstacles encountered in creating the company. He also stated that he believes the name is cute. In 2012 Lei Jun said that the term is about revolution and being able to bring creation into a new area. Xiaomi’s new “Rifle” processor has given significance to several citations linking the latter importance to the CPC’s “millet and rifle” revolutionary expression during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

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Xiaomi’s first logo consisted of a single orange square with the letters “MI” in white discovered in the center of the court. This logo was in use until 31 March 2021, when a new logo, created by well-known Japanese designer Kenya Hara, replaced the old one with an identical basic structure to the previous logo. Still, the square was substituted with a “squircle” with rounded corners, with the letters “MI” staying identical to the previous logo and a slightly darker hue.

Xiaomi’s mascot, Mitu, is a white rabbit wearing an Ushanka (known locally as a “Lei Feng hat” in China) with a red star and a red scarf around its neck. Later red star on the hat was substituted by the company’s logo.

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Xiaomi has been indicted for imitating Apple Inc. The hunger marketing process of Xiaomi was depicted as riding on the back of the “cult of Apple.” For example, after reading a text about Steve Jobs in college, Xiaomi’s chairperson and CEO, Lei Jun, carefully formulated a Steve Jobs photo, including jeans, dark shirts, and Jobs’ announcement style at Xiaomi’s earlier product announcements. As a result, he was described as a “counterfeit Jobs.”

In 2012, the company was expressed to be counterfeiting Apple’s perspective and mindset. In 2013, critics disputed how much of Xiaomi’s products were creative and how much of their innovation was good public relations. Others point out that while there are parallels to Apple, the ability to customize the software established upon user preferences through Google’s Android operating system sets Xiaomi apart. Xiaomi holds developed a much more exhaustive range of consumer products than Apple.

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