China’s Xiaomi launches powerful router to wirelessly store a ‘lifetime’ of photos
China’s top smartphone maker Xiaomi has released a new router with 6TB of built-in memory and improved transfer speeds as it aims to give customers a convenient new hub on which to store their photos and videos.
The supersized Mi Wi-Fi is designed to store all pictures in a user’s lifetime, said the company’s founder and chairman Lei Jun. Its previous router offered just 1TB.
"One of the problems many people face at home is that their internet bandwidth isn't large enough for high-definition videos to be streamed smoothly, especially when another family member is also downloading something," he said in Beijing on Wednesday.
“Photographers and users who have a lot of videos and pictures will also find it very useful to have their multimedia content stored in a place that can be easily accessed by all their terminals, including their mobile phones and television,” he added.
— Mi (@xiaomi) June 10, 2015
"That’s why a router with very quick connectivity and very large storage, which was also beautifully designed, had to be made,” he said of the device.
Customers can choose 1TB of storage for 699 yuan (US$113) or 6TB for 2,999 yuan. Both versions will go on sale on Xiaomi’s website on June 18.
The router can automatically back up data from cameras or smartphones once it is connected. It is compatible with cameras made by major brands like Canon, Nikon and Sony.
With remote access, users can access the content stored on the router via an Android or iOS app.
Xiaomi has sold 2 million routers since it launched a first version in April last year, Lei said.
The company has been going from strength to strength and this week opened its first store outside the Chinese mainland, in Hong Kong's densely packed Mong Kok neighbourhood.
A Wi-fi signal “booster” was also launched with a retail price of 39 yuan so that people who live in large residences can stick to one network when they move from room to room, rather than having to juggle hotspots.
Simply plugging the booster into the router will pair the devices up, thus expanding the network range, the company said.
— Mi (@xiaomi) June 10, 2015
Even though Xiaomi has sold a total of 6.77 million units of its MiTV, or internet-enabled television, and MiBox, or set-top box, the content they currently offer is inadequate, Lei said.
He said Xiaomi has spent US$1 billion to team up with key video and television content providers, including Chinese video-sharing websites like Youku, Tudou and Baidu-backed iQiyi, to ramp up its content offering.
"We have always embraced the idea of working with more partners instead of competing against them. So we now have 2.4 times more movies than our competitors, and 1.4 times more television dramas,” he said.
In the future, the free service will broadcast live concerts and sports events, he added.
“We’ve become the top player in China in smartphone sales and number five in the world in a short time. We're doing so well in smartphones that some people might think we aren’t giving our other businesses equal attention,” he said.
Smartphones, televisions and routers make up the company’s core business. Its other interests can be considered extensions of the same ecosystem but are mostly controlled by its partners, he said.