Xiaomi revamps its User Interface to become more playful. Regardless of specs, the new UIs for India are fun-filled 'timepassers'
From Vishnu Anand
August 24 2015: We are a specs-obsessed country. Whether it is the cliched question while picking up an automobile -- "Kitna deti hain?" (what's the mileage) -- or while procuring a three-way mixer-grinder-juicer from the flea market -- "Guarantee hai kya? -- we are a nation of perfectionists, when it comes to the vital statistics of any device we buy. Smart phones came along a few years back and gave us more 'specy' fodder to chew on.
From megapixel resolutions to multi-core processors to ultra thin aviation grade metal frames, the average smart phone buyer today is caught in a complex web of numbers and technology jargon, often misleading, sometimes accurate. Now some phone makers are is saying : KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid!
At the launch of its new user interface -- MIUI 7 -- at Delhi last week, Xiaomi aimed for a differentiation in the market, which is fun, playful, and may drive smart phone users towards buying their devices. The concept is simple. At the end of the day, all Android devices have similar look and feel, menu icons, settings and touch interfaces. Xiaomi has created interfaces that are gimmicky and blends with your offline personality. Also, Mi phones allow you to play games even while your phone is in screen lock mode.
One of MIUI's new features is that it comes with four preset themes -- Rose, Pink Blush, Ocean Breeze and High Life. Stemming from the fact that pink is the colour of the season, MIUI 7 has two themes, inspired by luxury fashion accessories. Pink Blush is slightly more subtle and feminine than Rose, which is well textured. Ocean Blue is calming and relaxing on the eye, but it is the High Life theme which we recommend strongly. This black and gold coloured theme is complemented by icons that spell achievement and opulence. Right up your alley if you are an aspire a jet setting, frequent flier, platinum lifestyle, this theme goes perfectly well with pure white and black coloured Mi devices.
MIUI 7 also features innovative lock screen themes that do much more than displaying time in analogue and digital. They allow you to do a range of things depending on your taste and hobbies. You can strum guitar chords, in fact unlock the phone if you strum a particular series of strings. Or play the drums. If you are a cricket fan, you can be a batsman for an over and see how many runs you score against an invisible opponent.
The folks at Xiaomi, for some reason seem to favour one Khan over the others, judging by the Baadshah theme. This theme allows you to dress up King Khan in his famous 'come hug me' pose, sporting clothes from his hit movies. It makes for interesting viewing if you do pair him up in an iron man suit and a lungi. But the point is, your phone unlocks only if you get the combination right. And then, the background changes as a bonus to the movie outfit was featured in.
It's not all fun and games. The MIUI 7 provides performance enhancement as well. While system apps load 30 percent thanks to software management algorithms that prioritize certain apps, battery life gets extended by 10 percent for daily use. Also, your bank OTP can now be copied instantly and pasted in your Net banking app and text can be displayed in more Indian languages with bigger fonts.
The message that Hugo Barra, Vice President, Xiaomi Global spelt out is simple: Android phones do not need to look boring. You can spice things up and play games even while your phones are just sitting around and doing nothing. And specs have nothing to do with it.