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Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun Crowd-Sourcing Decision to Expand Smartphone to CDMA

If his Weibo account is to be believed, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has spent at least one sleepless night considering whether or not his company should release a CDMA version of their just-released Android handset. On the one hand, a CDMA version might attract some, but on the other hand, low sales would result in big losses. What’s a tech exec to do? Take to Sina Weibo and ask the masses.

That’s just what Lei Jun did, and so far he’s gotten over 5,000 responses since the message was posted early this AM. But there wasn’t any clear consensus from that, so he decided to put it to a vote more literally, setting up a poll on Xiaomi’s official BBS forum.

As of this writing, over 26,000 people have voted in the poll, but the results still aren’t particularly clear. 38 percent said they supported a CDMA version, 46 percent said that it was unnecessary, and 16 percent said they were “just here buying soy sauce” (Chinese net slang for “no opinion”).

xiaomi-poll

Xiaomi BBS Poll

Effectively, a CDMA version would allow the phone to be used on China Telecom’s (HKG:728, NYSE:CHA) 3G network, which is fast but still the perpetual third-place finisher when it comes to which of the three big telecoms Chinese users choose. We’re not sure whether or not the company is likely to adhere to whatever the final result of the vote may be, but we do think it’s pretty cool that a company would publicly ask for opinions about a tech decision like this, rather than pouring tons of money into a product it turns out nobody wants.



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