Xiaomi has become a big player in mobile technology in the last few years. The devices it launches globally are just a fraction of its portfolio though, because in its home country of China, Xiaomi puts out loads of other products we haven't seen in the west.
One such example is the brand's ereaders, handheld devices with E Ink screens designed for reading books - think Kindles but not from Amazon. Xiaomi has a similar cadence to Amazon, releasing a new ereader every year or so, like the 7-inch Moaan Mix 7 in January 2022 or the 5.2-inch InkPalm 5 Mini in 2021.
Since Xiaomi keeps a fair portion of its devices to its homeland, we hadn't expected the company to launch an ereader in the west. However it turns out it's not out of the question.
When we asked about global availability of these products, a Xiaomi spokesperson told TechRadar "Xiaomi is always evaluating the possibility of bringing more of its products to international markets, a decision which is based on many factors and involves extensive local market research. Although we do not have anything to announce on the global availability of our eReader products right now, it’s a decision we will continue to review in the future."
So while Xiaomi doesn't have an ereader planned for the west anytime soon, the brand hasn't ruled out the possibility of a launch in the future. We were expecting a 'no comment' reply, so Xiaomi's frank response is surprising.
In Europe, there are lots of Xiaomi devices that haven't gone on sale - the brand has a huge selection of smart home and connected tech devices, as well as smartphones like the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold and the robotic CyberDog.
Analysis: giving Kindle a run for its money
Xiaomi's ereaders have lots of features that could make them close rivals to the Amazon Kindle line, a range so popular that to many, the name 'Kindle' is ubiquitous with 'ereader'.
The InkPalm 5 Mini, for example, is much smaller than a Kindle, which is great for portability and won't be hard to hold when reading for long amounts of time. The ereaders also allow multiple reading apps, instead of locking you to one ecosystem like Kindles do.
Of course, breaking Amazon's stranglehold on the ereader market would be no small feat, and that's likely why Xiaomi is hesitant to attempt it. The only other serious ereader maker in the west is Onyx, and its devices like the Onyx Boox Note Air 2 are sufficiently different from Kindles to tempt some ebook fans - but it's a real David and Goliath situation.
We'd love to see Xiaomi's ereaders go on sale globally. Partly because, as we said, they have some interesting features, but mainly because competition is always healthy. Amazon's Kindle line of reading devices won't grow and develop if there's no risk of competitors winning over consumers.
So we'll wait to see if Xiaomi changes its tune on ereaders in the near future - but we won't get our hopes too high, just in case.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.