Xiaomi challenges DJI with a low-cost drone
Xiaomi, one of China’s star Internet, phone and electronics startups, develops cut-rate but reliable phones and consumer devices and markets them directly to consumers online. Their new HD drone starts at $380, and the 4K video model at $450. Both directly compete – at half the price – with DJI’s popular Phantom drones.
The new Mi Drone can fly for 27 minutes and has a range of almost 2 miles. DJI drones fly for 23-28 minutes depending on the model. The Mi Drone includes a 360-degree camera that can shoot 4K video, and handheld remote which has the option of attaching a smartphone for a streaming view from the drone.
Similar to other Xiaomi products, the company didn’t actually create the Mi Drone itself. Instead, it is working with a China-based startup, Flymi, which designed and developed the UAV. Xiaomi is arranging the manufacturing and branding and selling it via its channels, which include its Mi.com online store. Any information on Flymi would be appreciated, particularly a link to their website.
Xiaomi recently bought 1,500 technology patents from Microsoft in a deal that may smooth potential legal tangles over intellectual property as Xiaomi begins selling outside of China. The IP covers wireless communications, video, cloud and multimedia technologies. The acquisition came as part of a broader agreement under which Microsoft Office and Skype will come pre-installed on Xiaomi smartphone devices.
[Note that many of Xiaomi’s executive and technical team previously worked for Microsoft China.]