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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Xiaomi Makes Another Big Move in Consumer Electronics

TAIPEI â€" Fresh from poaching a top Google executive to lead its global expansion plans, the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Thursday announced another jaw-dropper: a 3-D television with a 47-inch screen, capable of hooking up to Internet, all for less than $500.

Xiaomi unveiled the set, called the MiTV, in Beijing, describing it as a “smart” TV that operates with the Android mobile operating system. The display panels are made by Samsung or LG, the South Korean companies that dominate the global television business.

The introduction of the MiTV follows the news last week that Xiaomi had hired Hugo Barra, an executive in Google’s Android operation, to spearhead its growth in export markets. The move drew considerable attention because Xiaomi until now has focused on China, where its smartphones have overtaken Apple’s iPhone in market share.

Xiaomi on Thursday also unveiled a new smartphone, the Mi3. It is packed with features, including a 5-inch screen, a five-megapixel camera and processors from Nvidia or Qualcomm. Though plans for international availability were not detailed, this is presumably the device with which the company intends to take beyond the Middle Kingdom.

A version of the phone with 16 gigabytes of storage will be sold for 1,999 yuan, or about $327, while a 64-gigabyte version costs 2,499 yuan. That is less than half the typical price of an Apple iPhone 5.

The Xiaomi TV also looks like a bargain, though this appears to be a made-for-China product, at least for now.