Smartphones & Tablets | September 2, 2023
Currently, Xiaomi phones like the Xiaomi 13 Ultra provide one of the most unique Android experiences thanks to MIUI, its customized layer. It’s easy to recognize a Xiaomi, Redmi, or POCO phone from other brands due to its distinctive design, apps, and unique features. However, that might not be enough for the company.
The fact that Xiaomi has been wanting to ‘break free’ from Google for years is no secret. As one of China’s largest tech companies, it’s perhaps inevitable that the company’s ambitions go beyond just applying a new coat of paint to an existing product. But until now, those rumors have remained just that – rumors.
That could be about to change. Everything points to Xiaomi, at the very least, working on a new customization layer that could be so comprehensive and advanced that it would truly stand apart from Google’s version of Android. And it’s already been registered with a name: MiOS.
MiOS is a name that leaked years ago for a new ecosystem system by Xiaomi, intended for use in both smartphones and devices related to the Internet of Things, such as TVs. That’s why it was a major surprise when the company suddenly registered the name MiOS in China, with the intention of using it for a product.
The big question is which path Xiaomi will take with MiOS, and there are currently two possibilities being discussed on forums and social media in China. On one hand, it’s entirely possible that MiOS could be the new name for MIUI; Xiaomi might have deemed it time for a rebrand with MIUI 15, which is expected to launch with the upcoming Xiaomi 14. The new version of the customization layer would bring a new design and enough changes to warrant a new name.
The other possibility is more striking: Xiaomi could be developing its own rival operating system to Android. In this case, Xiaomi might be looking at the achievements of Huawei and its HarmonyOS. Although Huawei still uses Android with its EMUI layer in Spain, in China, it sells phones with its own system, which it also uses in its TVs, tablets, smartwatches, and even cars. Considering that Xiaomi also offers these products, and with the expected launch of Xiaomi’s electric car in the coming months, unifying all the systems used by the company would make sense.
According to these rumors, MiOS would be an independent system from AOSP (Android Open Source Project), though compatible with Android apps. This would allow Xiaomi to develop a distinct and original experience that would be consistent across all its products. For Google, this could be troubling news, as Xiaomi is one of the best-selling brands in both China and Europe. A ‘betrayal’ like this could hurt Google, especially if new Xiaomi phones come without pre-installed Google apps. Of course, Xiaomi might follow Huawei’s approach and continue offering MIUI in Europe.