China’s Xiaomi Unveils Mi Pad, a Plastic iPad Mini for Android Fans [Video]

China’s Xiaomi unveils copycat ‘Mi Pad’ in bid to take on Apple’s iPad.

The cheapest version of the world’s popular iPad mini with Retina display is priced at $399, but today this price tag has been undercut by a competitor that goes to great lengths to emulate everything about the Cupertino company’s tablet.

Xiaomi has just unveiled for public its tablet Mi Pad which features the same 7.9-inch screen size and even has the same 2048 x 1536 resolution, while its color scheme, shape, and design are all evocative of Apple’s iPhone 5C lineup.

Actually, the Chinese tech maker openly admits that it’s using the same materials as on the “unapologetically plastic” 5C. Its customized MIUI interface running atop Android seems to take similar inspiration from the look of iOS 7.

“The one area where the Mi Pad distinguishes itself is in being the first Tegra K1 device to be announced from any manufacturer. Nvidia’s latest chip showed great promise back at CES in January, but has taken a long time to make it to market in real devices.

Now it’ll be available in the Mi Pad, which can be had in June for 1,499 yuan (just over $240) with 16GB or 1,699 yuan ($275) with 64GB of storage,” The Verge reports.

“As with Huawei, Xiaomi’s prices are likely to be higher should the Mi Pad ever make it out of China. The company describes the initial release as a beta, perhaps in an effort to tamper expectations and to gauge the interest in a high-spec, low-price alternative to Apple’s best tablet.”

However, the company did not reveal anything about a 4G version.

“We wanted the hardware to come close to, or even surpass Apple’s iPad,” Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun said at the launch event in Beijing. Xiaomi’s flagship smartphones are among the fastest selling in China, resemble Apple’s iPhone.

Lei went on, telling reporters that an initial version of Mi Pad tablet would be available for testing by the public as early as in mid-June, but he declined to name a launch date or sales targets. It was also not clear whether the device would go on sale outside China.

“The worldwide tablet market, which saw shipments of 195.4 million devices in 2013, is forecast to grow nearly 40 percent this year, according to consultants Gartner, Inc, with China especially seeing significant growth,” claims Reuters.

The Chinese tech company that was founded back in 2010, leads a group of young Chinese home-grown handset brands that have successfully attracted local consumers with advanced features at lower prices than global brands.

“Xiaomi has a different business model than Apple or Samsung,” said Ben Thompson, founder of Stratechery.com, a technology and strategy website. “Apple makes it profits on the hardware, while Xiaomi claims they will make their profits on services.”

Last fall, the producer launched its flagship Mi 3 smartphone, selling 100,000 units in 90 seconds when it was announced online. Its low-cost Redmi handset has also saw strong sales in China and was recently launched in Singapore.

Xiaomi’s success also is creating new opportunities for parts suppliers in Japan, including display makers Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc, as they bolster their offerings of high-specification features to compete with global brands.

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