Xiaomi global VP Hugo Barra just rolled into a Barcelona press event on a hoverboard, but the company already unveiled its new devices at a companion event in Beijing. Beyond the high-end Mi 5 and its Snapdragon 820 chipset, we've also got Xiaomi's Mi 4s, a more-than-modest update to the very popular Mi 4. Seriously: Something like 16 million Mi 4 phones have been sold since its launch two years ago, and Xiaomi is clearly hoping to capture some more of that lightning in a bottle.
Not too familiar with Xiaomi? Well, just know this: They're a big deal and getting even bigger. While they still act and build products with the nimbleness of a startup, a cult following has developed around their phones, leading to near-instant sellouts in the company's native China. While the Mi 5 clearly wears the new flagship crown, the Mi 4s is no slouch, with its Snapdragon 808 chipset and 3GB of RAM -- it basically shares a brain with the Moto X Pure Edition and the Nextbit Robin. The 4s also packs a 5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and -- crucially -- a 3,260mAh battery. After being burned somewhat by the weaksauce battery in Nextbit's Robin, we can't helped but be excited by this hefty power cell.
Word from Beijing is that the 4s will be available in Asia this March for 1,699 yuan ($260). Barra is still onstage here working through his presentation, but with any luck, we'll see these handsome gadgets get a global release. There's never been a better time for buying good, inexpensive smartphones, and Xiaomi could conceivably carve out a very profitable corner of the world market.