Well, this can’t be good. China’s native iPhone killer, Xiaomi, isn’t even out yet, and already there’s a scandal.
According to Sina Tech, users with access to engineering prototypes of the new Xiaomi phone are reporting that the cases appear to be shoddily made. Paint is chipping off, and some users have said that a crack on the left side hasn’t been closed properly and there’s an audible creaking sound when pressing on the phone. The camera is also apparently quite good at collecting dust. Maybe it’s a feature?
In response, Lei Jun, the somewhat crazy man behind Xiaomi, has said the company has already totally redone the molds the phones are made in, and that the official phones will use a different kind of spray paint.
Pre-orders for the phone, which comes out in October, were tremendous, but there were already questions about how profitable the phone could really be, given its rock-bottom price and its reportedly-expensive manufacturing costs. If the company has also had to contend with additional expenses in redoing the phone molds and changing spray paint types, I suspect that may further damage their bottom end.
We were already interested to see how people react when the Xiaomi drops for real this October, but now we’re really interested, and we bet those 300,000 people who pre-ordered the phone are feeling a bit nervous. Lei Jun’s doing his best Steve Jobs impression; the question is, is his company’s phone going to be able to hold up to his claims?