Xiaomi may be developing consumer drones

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Chinese company Xiaomi (pronounced “shaow-mee”) doesn’t just make some of the most popular Android smartphones in Asia, they also make Mi-branded televisions and air purifiers. But now they’re planning to get in on another up-and-coming industry – drones.

 

Xiaomi drone in development

MyDrivers.com [ChineseEnglish] has reported rumours that the new drones (also referred to as quad copters for the four-bladed variety) are already in the testing phase, however they may not be manufactured by the company themselves. Xiaomi is said to have invested in a smaller tech firm called Flymi but we assume that the drones will be compatible with Xaomi’s Android-based MiUI software, which provides the user interface and ‘glue’ to make their whole ecosystem of gadgets play nicely together.

RELATED: Quadcopters straddle the line between drones and toys

The Xiaomi drone isn’t apparently ready for an official launch yet, as MyDrivers says that the initial design was a bit too similar to drone maker DJI’s Phantom line of drones (in the main pic), and that the company has to to go back to the drawing board. However, it is expected that the first version may be released later in 2015 in China at least.

Xiaomi HQ

Xiaomi is fast becoming one of the world’s top smartphone makers.

For now, the first Xiaomi drone still isn’t ready for an official launch. MyDrivers notes that the original design was too similar to the popular DJI Phantom drone (pictured above), sending the company back to the drawing board. Still, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the first official model launch later this year, at least in China.

Xiaomi has already said it wants to expand into new markets outside its native China, though it may be some time before it’s ready to enter competitive markets such as the U.S. and Europe. In any case, Xiaomi is starting to become a force to be reckoned with in Android smartphones, and its expansion into the drone sector in the near future is an exciting prospect.

In Thailand, consumer drones fitted with cameras facing an imminent ban, so it’s highly unlikely that we’d ever see Xiaomi’s drones on sale across the nation.

You may be amused to read the Google translation of the news source, with quotes such as “this UAV will be able to and supporting the use of small ants camera movement”.

SOURCE: Xiaomi

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