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Xiaomi unveils Mi 6 with Snapdragon 835 and 6GB of RAM, starting at $363

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At an event in Beijing today, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun unveiled the Mi 6 flagship smartphone. The Chinese company plans to start shipping the device on April 28, but only in China. There are three models: 64GB for 2,499 RMB ($363), 128GB for 2899 RMB ($421), and a ceramic edition for 2999 RMB ($436).

The Mi 6 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM. In February, Xiaomi introduced its first chipset: the Surge S1, which powers the Mi 5c smartphone. While that is a huge accomplishment, the company is sticking to third-party chipsets for its flagship phone.

Samsung reportedly bought up all the supply of the Snapdragon 835 for the launch of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, which is why the LG G6 shipped with last year’s Snapdragon 821. The Mi 6, which is arriving later, will be the first Chinese phone featuring the latest Qualcomm processor.

The Mi 6 features a splash-resistant 5.15-inch FHD display, like its predecessor. The main difference this year is the focus on improving color range and quality when reading at night. Other specs include dual cameras (12MP wide angle and 12MP telephoto camera), dual speakers, and a 3350mAH battery. The Mi 6 comes in blue, black, and white. Oh, and there’s no headphone jack.

Xiaomi now sells a variety of products and services, including tablets, fitness bands, scooters, routers, cloud storage, power banks, air purifiers, and so on. Despite its investment in various startups in an attempt to expand its portfolio, smartphones are still the company’s most important devices (though it did stop sharing sales numbers last year as growth stalled).

In May 2015, Xiaomi opened its online business to the U.S. and Europe, but that was just accessories. In October 2016, Xiaomi launched its first product in the U.S., but that was merely the Mi Box, a $69 Android TV. Phones are still MIA.

While the Mi 5 was revealed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona last year, Xiaomi decided to return home for the Mi 6 reveal. Maybe someone realized it makes no sense to show off a phone on a continent you won’t be making it available in. The biggest problem with the Mi 6 appears to be the same as all other phones that Xiaomi releases: Availability is limited to just to a handful of countries.

Disclosure: Xiaomi paid my way to Beijing. Our coverage remains objective.

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