Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun introduces MIUI 8, Xiaomi's latest mobile operating system, on Tuesday in Beijing. Photo: Courtesy of Xiaomi
Beijing-based technology rising star Xiaomi Inc unveiled the new generation of its operating system (OS), the MIUI 8, at a product launch event held in Beijing on Tuesday.
The new OS includes the introduction of guest account features, a function used to boost privacy and security on personal computers, to its mobile phones. One of the system's highlights is its ability to give users a different interface as well as restricted app access with a different password.
What's more, the dual system gismo can assure that files and content that were restricted in the mode will not be accessible, even when the phone is connected to a computer.
Xiaomi is expected to rely on the new OS, open for public testing in June, to further strengthen the loyalty of its existing users as well as woo more customers.
Attracting new users is an important task for the company, as the cult brand is finding it difficult to consistently maintain its position among a fiercely competitive international smartphone market, despite its current high loyal user base.
A report issued by International Data Corp in April showed that lesser-known Chinese brands OPPO and Vivo pushed out previous fourth and fifth placed Lenovo and Xiaomi in terms of smartphone shipments worldwide during the first quarter of 2016.
Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Xiaomi's newly released MIUI 8 would find a niche market in China, where people usually have more than one WeChat account.
Zhang Xin, a 29-year-old Beijing resident, applauded the launch of MIUI 8, which enables her to sign in to two WeChat accounts simultaneously in one phone.
Usually, one app cannot be installed twice in one smartphone.
"I registered two WeChat accounts. One is for business needs, used to communicate with my colleagues and clients, while the other one, in which I only share details of my personal life with my friends and families, is for private use," the young lady told the Global Times Wednesday.
However, MIUI 8 has more merits than that. Xiaomi claims that a phone powered by MIUI 8 can also offer triple protection against short message fraudsters, who set up fake stations to send phone users links to phishing sites.
SMS fraud is frequently seen in China. According to a report issued by China's leading anti-virus software provider Qihoo 360 Technologies Co in April, the number of fraudulent short messages blocked by its mobile safeguard app came to about 3.55 million daily.
And the phone's calculator is not just for doing sums. The MIUI 8 calculator has added new features such as currency conversion, as well as calculation of mortgage, tax and even provident funds.
Given those practical functions, Zhang, an iPhone user, is now considering switching to a well-spec'ed but low-budget Xiaomi smartphone.
According to a press release Xiaomi sent to the Global Times Tuesday, MIUI 8, which is regarded as their best OS to date, can be applied to all Xiaomi smartphone lineups including the latest 6.44-inch Mi Max.
However, one 30-year-old Beijing white-collar worker surnamed Shang did not see MIUI 8 as a must-have.
"The OS is still based on Android. Besides, I think it is troublesome to buy a Xiaomi smartphone," said Shang, whose interest in Xiaomi phones has already damped after he saw that one of his friends could not get one after trying to purchase it via its sole online sales channel for three days.
In addition to making technological breakthroughs, Wang suggested that Xiaomi should also expand its sales channels into physical stores, which are still the preferred pur-chasing venue among residents in third- and fourth-tier cities.
"One major reason why OPPO and Vivo can surpass Xiaomi is they have powerful off-line sales networks," said Wang.