Sep 30, 2016

    Xiaomi unveils new smartphone with fingerprint tech


    XIAOMI unveiled a flagship smartphone series this week, featuring advanced fingerprint identification technology, marking the first rival product by Chinese firms to compete with Apple after the launch of its latest iPhone.

    The Mi 5s, starting at 1,999 yuan (S$409), is also the firm's latest effort to boost sales amid slowing demand and rising competition from local rivals such as Huawei Technologies.

    The gadget supports ultrasonic fingerprint identification, which delivers greater accuracy than current models, by using 10,000 micro sensors, the company said.

    Lei Jun, founder and chief executive of Xiaomi, said the new technology addresses concerns that frequent touching will wear out the physical identification buttons.

    "Applying the technology in a model that can be mass produced showcases our innovation capabilities," Mr Lei said.

    The Beijing-based company also joined hands with Sony to offer better cameras on its device.

    Mi 5s Plus, the bigger-screen version, is equipped with 13-million-pixel dual cameras from Sony and starts from 2,299 yuan.

    Jin Di, research manager at International Data Corp China, said the experiment with supersonic fingerprint identification shows that Xiaomi is working hard to differentiate its products from its rivals.

    "That is not necessarily a big selling point but it will appeal to young people who are eager to try out new technology," Ms Jin said.

    Xiaomi's partnership with Sony came after Huawei teamed up with Leica to offer dual cameras on P9, its latest flagship phone that was launched earlier this year.

    The iPhone 7 Plus, launched by Apple earlier this month, also has two rear cameras.

    In the second quarter of this year, Xiaomi failed to break into the top five vendors in China, while rivals such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo leapt forward in terms of shipment, data from IDC show.