Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

WSJ: Xiaomi is “rattling” China’s smartphone race

Earlier this month, Bits & Pieces reported that Xiaomi had selected Atmel’s maXTouch mXT540S controller to power the 5-inch touchscreen of its recently launched full high-definition (HD) Mi3 smartphone. This week, the Wall Street Journal confirmed (via Canalys) that Xiaomi successfully captured 5% of China’s smartphone market as of the second quarter of 2013.

Unsurprisingly, the company remains on track to sell 20 million handsets this year.

“We use an Internet thought process. On the Internet the best products—the products used most frequently—are all free. Email is free, most content is free,” Xiamoi CEO Lei Jun told the Wall Street Journal. “If you give us a suggestion, and we quickly change it, you will have a long-lasting sense of achievement. Once you’re sure we’ve fixed it, you have a strong sense of ownership, and then you will tell classmates, friends, roommates, everyone that Xiaomi is good.”

According to Mr. Lei, the company makes money by offering services such as mobile applications and movies via its software, which is based on Google’s popular Android mobile operating system.

“Xiaomi, which uses its website as its primary sales platform, also offers an array of accessories from multicolored batteries and casings, to hats and even dolls of the company’s rabbit mascot,” explained Paul Mozur of the WSJ. “For the two-year period ending in 2013, it projects it will have sold 680,000 of the dolls, which range in price from 19 yuan to 149 yuan (about $3 -$24).”

As noted above, Xiaomi recently selected Atmel’s maXTouch mXT540S controller to power the Mi3’s HD 5-inch touchscreen. More specifically, with Atmel’s mXT540S, Xiaomi’s Mi3 smartphone is capable of delivering superior touch performance with a very sensitive touch panel – offering the fastest report rate in the industry.

This is a particularly crucial feature for the capture of precise touches, including handwriting and signatures, with a fingernail. And with an industry-leading signal-to-noise ratio, the mXT540S offers noise suppression for environments with aftermarket noisy chargers, along with longer battery life.

Additional key Mi3 smartphone features include:

  • Nvidia Tegra 4 processor or Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (depending on market)
  • 5-inch IPS 1080p display
  • 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • 13MP Sony Exmor RS CMOS camera
  • 2MP front facing
  • 3,050mAh battery
  • NFC
  • 8.1mm thick profile

Interested in learning more about our maXTouch technology? You can check out Atmel’s maXTouch portfolio here.

China’s Maker Movement is rapidly evolving

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Emily Parker confirms that the wildly popular DIY Maker Movement is gaining serious ground in China. As readers of Bits & Pieces know, Makers often gather at hackerspaces, or makerspaces, real-world locations where they can learn and work together.

Unsurprisingly, there are over a dozen spaces dedicated to Makers in China, a figure that is expected to significantly increase in the near future. One such Maker space is Xinchejian, or “new workshop.”

Founded in 2010, the space is located in a rented Shanghai warehouse, although a DIY Pop Up version of Xinchejian fashioned out of shipping container recently made its first successful appearance at the Creative Faire in Shanghai. According to the Xinchejian team, the space attracted numerous visitors interested in 3D printing, robotics, Atmel-powered Arduino boards and Maker Culture.

Taiwan-born David Li, a 40-year-old programmer and a co-founder of Xinchejian, told the WSJ he wants to lower the barriers for experimentation and play.

“It’s not about getting together a group of geeks doing something. [Rather], it’s a conduit for people to say, ‘This interactive stuff is not that scary, not that difficult,'” he explained. “The policy makers we meet here are genuinely very curious. They have the resources. They are not afraid to try. They could build bridges to nowhere and they will still have a job.”

Indeed, Makers may very well develop the next groundbreaking technology, or at least that is the hope of Chinese policy makers.

“Chinese industry has to change. It has to migrate to the next stage,” Benjamin Koo, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, told the WSJ. “Right now it’s purely contract-based. We execute what other people design.”

Seeed Studio in Shenzhen is another outpost for China’s Maker Movement, with the company’s posters featuring Che Guevara calling for people to come together and “challenge the hegemony of industrialized mass production in an unprecedented way.”

“China is on the way. The first time you learn to write, you cannot write novels. You have to copy from the textbook to learn to write A, B, C, D,” said Seeed founder Eric Pan. “When designs go big, the traditional manufacturer will have new products to make. We are providing more candidates.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the evolving DIY Maker Movement is a global phenomenon, limited only by the imagination of an individual. Indeed, as The Verge’s Adrianne Jeffries recently noted, it is now all but “impossible” to deny that DIY is in.

“Every part of the ‘Maker movement,’ a big-tent phenomenon that covers everything from homemade jewelry to homemade drones, is booming,” Jeffries wrote. “Outside of the Make Media empire, there’s been an explosion of crowdfunded maker projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. On the other end of the business spectrum, [the Atmel-powered] MakerBot, one of the best-known companies in the Maker Movement, was just bought by a public company for $604 million.”

According to Jeffries, it makes perfect sense that Making is trendy right now, as Maker culture encourages empowerment: skill over money, building over buying, creation over consumption.

“The maker movement covers bicycles that generate electricity, art projects that light up when you press a button and the enormous genre of how-to videos on YouTube. It’s in line with the eco-friendly and buy local movements, the back-to-artisanal aesthetic and the geek worship that are also part of the post-aught zeitgeist,” he added.