Xiaomi may be one of the largest smartphone vendors in the world, but recent spotlight on the Chinese company has seen it drawn into the copycat saga that has dogged Apple and Samsung for quite some time. The Beijing headquartered company is well known for producing relatively high-end smartphones, amongst other items of consumer technology, for seemingly budget prices, but the company has been accused of copying Apple’s software and design elements in a number of its Mi device. Hugo Barra, an executive at Xiaomi, doesn’t see what all of the “copycat melodrama” is about.
In an extremely open and candid interview with Bloomberg, Xiaomi’s Vice President openly discussed the copycat claims and defended his company against the accusations, including that of a recent Xiaomi device – Mi 4 – mimicked the look of Apple’s iPhone 5 by utilizing a chamfered edge design language:
Yes, it does look like an iPhone 5 and that chamfered edge, by the way, is present in so many other devices. People couldn’t bring themselves to believe a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products.
Hugo Barra seems to genuinely believe that the accusations against his company, and other companies of a similar type, is down to a bias against Chinese manufacturers. When quizzed on whether or not the recently released Xiaomi Mi Note has a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, it was laughed off with a retort of “it’s white like an iPhone 6 Plus.” It seems that Barra believes that “every smartphone looks like every other smartphone on the market.” Does he have a valid point, or is this purely the case due to rampant copying within the market?
Xiaomi Mi Note
Xiaomi Mi 4
Regardless of Barra’s opinions on the subject, it’s immediately evident that Apple genuinely believes there is a copycat cancer within the industry. In a 2014 interview, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive verbally attacked Xiaomi, describing the company as “lazy” and going as far as to say it amounts to “theft.” Xiaomi has managed to catapult itself into the top three smartphone vendors in the world behind Apple and Samsung. With that kind of success, it’s difficult to imagine the Chinese company shifting focus, so expect to see a lot more devices that seem to “borrow” inspiration from popular products.
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