Xiaomi 'smart' TV primed for Oct. launch (US shoppers need not apply)
Xiaomi, a major rival of Apple's in China, has taken the wraps off a Web-connected, turbo-charged TV set.
Way back in 2011, biographer Walter Isaacson claimed that at the time of his death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was actively working on a next-gen television set. Two years later, and no evidence of that television set has yet emerged from Apple HQ.
In the meantime, one of Apple's main China rivals appears to have beaten Cupertino to the punch. At a press conference today at the IFA consumer show in Berlin, reps for Xiaomi took the wraps off an Internet-connected "smart" TV that will retail for about $490 beginning in October.
The actual display technology will be built by Samsung and LG, Xiaomi said. But North American consumers shouldn't get too jazzed. For now, Xiaomi's TV, like the rest of its gadgets, will be available only in Taiwan and China (although there has been some talk of an international expansion in the years to come).
Xiaomi, of course, is the same company that recently appointed Hugo Barra, the former vice president for Google's Android product management, to VP of global business. Bloomberg Businessweek has put the company's valuation at $10 billion; in China, Xiaomi smart phone sales top those of Apple.
"The company’s business is also accelerating fast," writes Hamish McKenzie of PandoDaily. "Last year, it sold 7.9 million phones, for $2.05 billion in revenue. In the first half of 2013, Xiaomi sold 7 million phones, for $2.16 billion in revenue. Xiaomi has boldly predicted annual revenues of $16 billion by 2016."