The Xiaomi 12 Xiaomight arrive early, if leakers are to be believed. Wondering why we’re not referring to it as the Xiaomi Mi 12? Well, news broke recently that the company is ditching the ‘Mi’ name from its phones, so presumably this new device will just be called the ‘Xiaomi 12’.
According to Chinese site MyDrivers, the Xiaomi 12 – expected to be the company’s big flagship for 2022 – might actually launch in November 2021. It’s not clear what MyDrivers’ source is, so take this with a pinch of salt.
The website states that the phone will debut the Snapdragon 898 chipset, the next top-end Android processor that’ll succeed the Snapdragon 888 that many of the best Android phones of 2021 use.
This family of chipsets is usually shown off around the Black Friday period, so November makes sense.
We used to see Xiaomi Mi phones launch in February each year, just before the big Samsung Galaxy event, but the Mi 11 came early; it debuted a few days after Christmas 2020 (though it got a global launch in February 2021). It sounds like the Mi 12 will show up even earlier.
Beyond an unnamed source saying so, we don’t have any reason to believe Xiaomi would jump the gun even further, so take this with a pinch of salt until we hear more.
Analysis: flagship, flagging interest
As the second-biggest phone company in the world – or first, depending on who you listen to – there will be lots of eyes on Xiaomi’s product launches.
But if the Mi 11’s strategy is replicated, with a late-year flagship phone launch only in China, followed by a global version months later, Xiaomi may have trouble drumming up interest in the new flagship.
Xiaomi is one of many tech companies that forgets that the world can see what happens in China. If a phone launches there with lots of pomp and circumstance, but doesn’t show up elsewhere for months afterward, lots of the hype and interest will have died down by the time people can actually buy the device.
At TechRadar, we saw lots of initial interest when the Xiaomi Mi 11 was debuted at its China launch, but reader numbers for relevant articles dropped off, and there was much less interest for the global launch.
Now that Xiaomi is absolutely huge, if it showed off the Mi 12 in China in November then waited until February for a global launch, that would leave a whole four months between announcement and release. That’s four months when people could forget about the device, or buy a different one; we’d also expect to see the Galaxy S22 launch in that window.
With Xiaomi being one of the biggest brands on the block, we’d like to see it enact a global release schedule where it didn’t prioritize one region over others, especially if its own sales were hurt as a result.
It’s a lesson the company will likely learn soon, as while it announced the Mi Pad 5 tablet in August, interest is already waning. Rumors suggest the slate will get a global launch in September; any later, and Xiaomi can write off hopes of it being a huge success.