Xiaomi Enters the Tablet Fray

After entering the smartphone market in China, Xiaomi based in the world’s second largest economy is looking to rile a few feathers in the tablet marketplace with a low-price first generation flattop set to rival the iPad mini from Apple.

Lei Jun the CEO at Xiaomi said the company hopes Apple will feel new pressure from their new tablet. The Chinese handset and now tablet maker has gained buzz for its smartphones with Android that are described as cutting edge that sell for just over cost.

That has translated to big sales and fan base that is growing quickly. Xiaomi is now using the same strategy with its tablets by unveiling its Android based product that starts at just $243.

The tablet has a screen that is 7.9 inches with a 2048 x 1536 pixels resolution. Under the hood, it has a Nvidia Tegra K1 and 2.2 quad-core GHz chip.

The tablet will have two versions with internal storage of 16GB or a larger 64 GB. Both will have a microSD slot for as much as 128GB of additional storage.

The version that is 16GB starts at $243 or 1499 yuan with the 64 GB selling at a price of 1699 yuan. The iPad mini currently starts in China at 2888 yuan (US$1 = 6.178 yuan).

Xiaomi will release beta versions of their tablet during June. However, the company has entered the tablet space in China at a late stage. Apple has been the market leader in China and during the first three months of 2014 held a market share of 43%.

Samsung is in second in China with a share of 10%, while Lenovo the PC maker from China holds 5% of the market.

However, Xiaomi is quite optimistic it will find success in the tablet arena like it has in the smartphone market. The company has sold smartphones for only two years and is now one of China’s hottest vendors of technology, with more of a gain in market share than that of its rival the iPhone from Apple.

While the company is not as focused on turning a profit, Xiaomi relies largely on the sale of phones online as well as marketing via word of mouth to save on overall costs.