Xiaomi, on Monday, dropped a teaser video of their first ever drone on Chinese streaming site Youku. The drone looks like a quadcopter and appears to have an underslung spherical camera. In the past, Xiaomi has been dropping hints towards launching its own drone, suggesting that it may be controlled via app and will record 4,000 videos at 30 fps.
Under the tag ‘Something wonderful and cool is flying to us very soon’, on the MIUI forum, the company confirmed the launch of the drone on May 25, scheduling the live streaming of the drone’s unveiling.
Previously, Xiaomi had put up a picture of a wooden-copter, a toy famous among kids, further building the suspicion. The news about Xiaomi working on drones supposedly gained momentum when it patented a technology that is used to control drones with Mi Bands and gestures.
That could lead to another hint towards the functionality of the drone. While details of specifications still look thin, Xiaomi already has its inroads in consumer electronics, including products like smart TVs, smart ACs, rice cookers, set-top boxes, Wi-Fi routers, air purifiers, and now drones.
Chinese manufacturers have already been in the radar to release polished consumer products at an aggressive pricing. What is left to speculate is whether Xiaomi can launch the drone for less than $100?
However, according to GSM Arena, there are rumors that it may cost as much as CNY 3,999 in China (that means $608 or €542 at the current exchange rates).
According to TechCrunch, the top selling drone on Amazon right now is the SYMA X5C Explorers — and it costs $43.50. Through these advancements, the Chinese phone manufacturer also directly pits itself against DJI’s drones. Although known for making professional drones for filmmakers, DJI through its consumer product Phantom 4, also seems to have hit it well with the regular folks.
Furthermore, May seems to be an exciting month for Xiaomi as they launched their Mi Max smartphone, which is now taking beta registrations with the first developer version available on June 17. The company also announced their partnership with Google to launch their first Android TV set top box Mi Box at the Google I/O conference.
Google was also seen announcing that Xiaomi was one of their Android partners for their Daydream ready devices project. This is Google’s platform for high-performance mobile VR (virtual reality) built on top of Android N.
The Indian turf
Looking at the Indian turf, there are drone manufacturers looking at bigger business problems.
- Drona Aviation has a presence in cinematography, security, advertisement, and tourism
- AirPix is working on image sensors that can take high resolution pictures of land or a physical structure and imprint them as 3D models on computers
- Skylark Drones offers services to companies in real estate, land survey and inspection, advertising, and sports events, looking at use cases for drones in aerial panoramas, ultraHD videos, and images.
- Eazypilot works on drone controllers available globally. Their technology converts any drone into a user-friendly gadget around which applications can be developed.
- Aarav Unmanned Systems offers solution in the industrial and agricultural asset management space leveraging drone technology.
However, none of them seem to have an off-the-shelf drone product for hobbyists.
Currently, there are 900 drone manufacturers in China and over 200 in the USA.
Here's the teaser video: