back to article Xiaomi aims to knock Apple off its branch with move into computers

Rising Dragon Xiaomi is reported to be revving up the tanks to park on Apple’s lawn with the launch of a laptop. The new lappie is rumoured to be a high-end 15" notebook pitched at the MacBook Air, but at half the price. Rumours of the project have leaked to Bloomberg from component suppliers, who say that the company has been …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oooooooh!

    Linux on the desktop!! 2015 will be.........etc

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: oooooooh!

      plus the oblig

      does it run Crysis?

      Being serious for a moment.

      As the marketplace for laptop/desktop devices is dropping like the Shanghai Stock Market index is this really a wise move? If the market was expanding but...

      They will have to come up with something 'Completely Different' to get a sizeable market share.

      Thin and Light alone won't cut it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: oooooooh!

        "something 'Completely Different'"

        Not Metro & Not Slurping. Will those do for a start?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: oooooooh!

          >Thin and Light alone won't cut it.

          They are aiming for thin and light and inexpensive.

        2. HausWolf

          Re: oooooooh!

          You can't get me to believe for a second that they aren't slurping data. Not to be paranoid, but the Chinese are still one of the biggest sponsors of state hacking there is.

          And the arm of the government is long, very long

      2. jzl

        Re: oooooooh!

        The market share is dropping, but in China the actual market is rising. Besides, it's still an enormous market and will be for some time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: oooooooh!

      It may will be it's year in China and Russia given the amount of espionage W10 undertakes.

    3. Michael Habel

      Re: oooooooh!

      Perhaps not 2015 anymore... But most likely sometime after 2016 into 2017. I guess it depends on how much flack we can give MicroSoft to back down form its rather... How should we put this? Its rather poor decisions of late with regards to other Peoples Privacy. If Patch Tuesday... Or whichever way these Updates now fall... Is gonna start slowly turning into a Game of Wack the (Spyware), Mole. Then I'm gonna have to find a more sane OS to do business with.

      It was up to a point only half jokingly commented upon that MicroSoft would backport all that wonderfull stuff... Sans DX12, and Cortana (a.k.a. TDSB), back into earlier builds. Well they've just gone on, and done it. Sans One Update that snuck past me back in May. I've managed to block all the offending material.... FOR NOW!

      The only question is how much longer will I be able to hold my patients in regards to this? I had hoped that MicroSoft would have peacfully left us alone for awhile. That too seems like a pipedream.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Re: oooooooh!

        Patience

        1. Michael Habel

          Re: oooooooh!

          Thx Prof!

    4. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: oooooooh!

      Chromebook?

      I think you can put a Chromebook on the desktop.

      So it's in the pocket, on the desktop, and in the datacentres. Good enough for you?

  2. elDog

    Upvoting because you will be proven right!

    Anything but Windows or iOS or Chrome. I'm looking forward to seeing the specs. I can hope for heaps of expandable memory, nice IPS 4K non-glare screen, plenty of ports, SSDs, etc.

    And Linux.

    1. DainB Bronze badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Upvoting because you will be proven right!

      And proper espresso machine. Because it's just as possible.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Upvoting because you will be proven right!

      I think your wishlist is really wishful thinking considering they're targeting the Macbook Air. Expect one, maybe 2 USB ports and no possibility to open the case let alone expand the hardware.

      1. John Bailey

        Re: Upvoting because you will be proven right!

        "I think your wishlist is really wishful thinking considering they're targeting the Macbook Air. Expect one, maybe 2 USB ports and no possibility to open the case let alone expand the hardware."

        And they have to emulate all the faults as well?

        They may be emulating an Air, but are they aiming it at the same air heads who bought an over priced tray for their day job?

        Or are they looking at it's many weaknesses, and fixing them?

    3. Daniel von Asmuth
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Upvoting because you will be proven right!

      At least you got to see the photograph - but it does not look like a laptop very much!?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting

    I wonder if "high end" - windows + phone/tablet manufacturer might equal decent display?

    Interesting development perhaps...

  4. DainB Bronze badge

    Linux on Laptop ?

    Just ask Asus how well it worked for them.

    1. Antonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Very well as I recall.

      It was MS&XP that killed the netbook. Some say intentionally.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The EEE PC was the only machine I've owned which didn't need to have windows removed. Of course, the version of Linux that came with the original EEE was a bit naff and had to be replaced to make it a properly useful PC, so in the end, for me, the user experience wasn't that different from buying a machine with windows pre-installed. I'd expect exactly the same from a laptop made by Xioami or anyone else.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        OEMs & Linux?

        "version of Linux that came with the original EEE was a bit naff"

        That's almost been a given, over the years any time a large OEM produces a laptop/pc with linux on-board pre-installed, the version they've gone with or the configuration thereof has always been some half-assed brain-dead attempt.

      2. Zolko

        Drivers ?

        so in the end, for me, the user experience wasn't that different from buying a machine with windows pre-installed.

        except that you were sure all hardware had proper Linux drivers, which is not certain if another OS is pre-installed (looking at Apple)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Drivers ?

          The big difference is that we had to throw away a scanner and a bunch of printers when windows7 came out. When everybody goes to w10 we assume we are going to have to buy new printers etc.

          Still have a couple of XP machines because we have a $25K bit of hardware purchased in 2012 that can only be controlled from 32bit XP

          1. davtom

            Re: Drivers ?

            @Yet Another Anonymous coward

            I don't know why you're getting down-votes because it's absolutely true. I've had to throw away perfectly good hardware because the drivers were not updated beyond Windows XP too.

            At least Windows 7 is good enough that we don't have to bother with Windows 10 until we need to replace our machines - and maybe not even then; Linux is a more than viable alternative.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Drivers ?

              "I don't know why you're getting down-votes because it's absolutely true."

              I (not YAAC) was wondering that too. Perhaps it's punishment for ignoring the you could have replace NSAFT instead of your perfectly functional hardware and thus SAVED some money instead of wasting a shitload aspect?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dont forget replacing the pitifully slow SSD with something bigger and faster.

        Still use mine for travelling

  5. James O'Shea

    seriously

    what market will this be aimed at?

    The bling-loving toy-wankers won't want it. It doesn't have the Apple icon.

    Anyone who does serious graphics won't want it. The GIMP is many things, but a replacement for Photoshop is not one. I know. I've been looking for a Photoshop replacement since Adobe went cloudy; Affinity Photo is very nice indeed, is cheap, and isn't cloudy... and much, much better than the GIMP. In addition, Affinity Design may actually be _better_ than Illustrator.

    General-purpose users won't want it. Sorry, LibreOffice simply is not as good as iWork. Even after iWork was crippled to make it.... work, for lack of a better term... with iOS. It's not close to MS Office. That's just how it is. LibreOffice is pretty good for what it is, a free office suite. It's simply mediocre at best when compared to non-free office suites. Free only goes so far.

    Devs who must work with Windows or Mac or iOS stuff won't want it. How can they run Visual Studio or XCode or whatever?

    Gamers won't want it. It can't run Crysis. Or Call of Duty. Or...

    Yes, some of the problems can be fixed by application of VMs or WINE or something similar. But why bother when you can get the real thing and not need to go to extra trouble?

    I use an ASUS laptop as my main laptop. It's getting a little old. Time for a new machine. Frankly, I'd not even consider replacing it with the new Xiaomi as that machine can't run the software I need to use. (Yes, I really have looked at the GIMP, and LibreOffice. I really have. I'm still using Creative Suite 5.5 because I didn't get CS 6, it was too soon after the last upgrade, and I will never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever use Creative Cloud. If the GIMP would do what I need I'd long since have dumped Photoshop. It doesn't. Similarly, I've tried to use LibreOffice. Several times. Every time there's a new major release I try again. I currently have v5.0.1 installed and undergoing testing. So far it still doesn't do what I can do with MS Office 2010 and 2011 (Mac) and 2013 and 2016(Mac) and 2015 (beta). I'd love it if it did, Apple has gone cloudy with iWork, and Microsoft is trying hard to go all cloudy, too, and I'm not letting their cloudy crap near my systems any more than I'm letting Adobe's cloudy crap near. It would be beautiful if I could just dump MS Office forever, but I can't. LibreOffice is the best FOSS office suite out there, and it's simply not up to the task.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: seriously

      How have you got Office 2016 for the Mac and not used the 365 (aka Cloudy) version. I thought the 'Boxed Set' wasn't going on sale until October?

      Otherwise, I agree pretty well with everything you say. I use Lightroom and CS6 a lot on a MBP and Elements on windows. Once Abobe goes Cloud everthing then I'll have to choose an alternative or just not upgrade again.

      As an aside, on a recent trip a companion's Laptop started complaining because it had not been connected to the Redmond Mothership for 4 days. We were on a small boat bobbing around the Hebrides. We were more interested in the Marine Life than having to phone home every few days.

      If that is a sign of the future then god help us.

      1. Electron Shepherd

        Re: seriously

        it had not been connected to the Redmond Mothership for 4 days

        Was that just it wanted an MSE / Windows Defender update, or something more sinister?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: seriously

          It wanted to verify the Office 365 subscription. Sorry MS this is getting silly. To start nagging so soon is just pathetic and shows how insecure they are. Their borg clients just gotta keep checking with the mothership to see if they can take their next breath.

      2. James O'Shea

        Re: seriously

        "How have you got Office 2016 for the Mac and not used the 365 (aka Cloudy) version. I thought the 'Boxed Set' wasn't going on sale until October?"

        I used the beta. Once they stopped the beta and insisted on going cloudy, I deleted it from my system. It worked quite well while it was there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: seriously

      You make some good points to start with and the get silly with the "cloudy crap" comments. What is your beef?

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: seriously

        "You make some good points to start with and the get silly with the "cloudy crap" comments. What is your beef?"

        the very next comment after yours showed exactly what my beef with cloudy crap is.

    3. Roo
      Windows

      Re: seriously

      "General-purpose users won't want it. Sorry, LibreOffice simply is not as good as iWork."

      Quite frankly most "general purpose users" in the world at large would be quite happy if they never saw another office suite again. It's pretty rare outside of an el Reg commentard section that I see people wailing and gnashing teeth at the thought of not being able to run MS Office or iWork.

      It looks like Xiaomi are addressing the home/consumer market rather than the business desktop market, a decent browser carries more weight than an office suite in that market. FWIW I have found that LibreOffice works well enough in that sector, your own struggles notwithstanding.

      "But why bother when you can get the real thing and not need to go to extra trouble?"

      Multiple vendor OS, less/zero "telemetry", better control over updates, vulnerabilities are published rather than swept under the carpet, cheaper & less restrictive SW licenses, easier to use and maintain, better "interoperability".

    4. Vector

      @James O'Shea Re: seriously

      Insert "European or American" into every line with won't want it, then re-evaluate your comments.

      Xiaomi is probably aiming at the Chinese market which is A) their home turf and B) a little more flexible about what software runs on the hardware.

    5. DougS Silver badge

      Re: seriously

      If it is aimed at the market of "people who want a thin and light laptop that doesn't either 1) cost a fortune or 2) feel like it was made out of recycled milk jugs" they might have me as a customer. Well, theoretically, since they probably won't sell them in the US.

      Seriously though, while I am a happy iPhone owner who would never consider switching to Android or Windows Phone I don't really see buying a Mac laptop when most of the time I'd be running a Windows VM for work. It would be like buying an iPhone but jailbreaking it to run a Cyanogenmod version of Android on it! Windows laptops with equivalent specs and build quality cost pretty much the same as the Mac, while the ones that cost half as much are built like shit. If Xiaomi decides to go with a top quality build but make almost no margin like they do with their phones, it might be a winner.

    6. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: seriously

      I'd imagine it will bundle WPS/Kingsoft Office and, if so, the average user won't ever notice the difference. I've had Linux Mint on my laptops for a few years now and haven't had to do any special fiddling with them once it was installed, stuff just works.

  6. John Savard Silver badge

    Luxury?

    While a Linux laptop is not a bad idea - one company sells a specially-configured Linux laptop for seniors who are uncomfortable with computers - positioning one to compete with the Macintosh as a premium-priced item seems several kinds of daft to me. For one thing, people who want a Linux laptop can just buy a cheap Windows one and install Linux for less as far as that goes; but they'd prefer to have the savings from the absence of Windows.

    Of course there's a demand for luxury items; but even a Rolex watch has to tell the time. A computer with Linux poses... challenges... in finding desired applications software for it in some cases. The techno-geek can surmount such challenges with ease. The luxury product customer, on the other hand...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Luxury?

      The point is that they appear to be aiming at the Mac specs but NOT the Mac price. If that happens then it will sell.

      1. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Luxury?

        I suppose that'll help. After all, Linux users may want fancy computers too, and if they put Windows on it instead, more people would find it useful - but then they'd be selling into a very competitive market, and a lot of Windows computer makers are already imitating the Macintosh in one way or another.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am very impressed with the build quality of my £94 Xiaomi phone, I wait with baited breath to see what they do next.

    (Hong Me, aka Red Rice 3G)

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      baited with what?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "baited with what?"

        Red Rice (see the rest of his post.)

  8. thames

    Xiaomi MIUI?

    "This is a move that might point to a port of the Xiaomi MIUI user interface used on the phones to the laptop and would be consistent with the company’s plans to be a source of content as well as hardware."

    I wouldn't be surprised if they used a customised version of Ubuntu for it. Canonical have been working with a major un-named Chinese ODM for a while on exactly this sort of thing.

    The OS may carry the Xiaomi brand name and styling, but it would be Ubuntu underneath and have access to Ubuntu's repositories, developers, infrastructure, and security fixes. Canonical have also been working with game developers to get game platforms on Ubuntu.

    The standard applications could be hooked into Xiaomi cloud services by default, and probably sync files with Xiaomi phones. Xiaomi could add their own proprietary apps for this pre-installed.

    The fact that it wouldn't use the same Android apps from the Xiaomi phones is pretty much irrelevant, since phone apps aren't really written for desktop use anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Xiaomi MIUI?

      Recent MIUI updates have increased my Red Rice Antutu speeds by 50%, so it will be interesting to see what they can do with a larger format version.

      Ré Drivers, dont just blame M$, blame the hardware makers as well, I bought an expensive HP office printer 6 months before Win7 came out and found that HP couldnt be bothered to write a proper driver for it; my choices were :-

      1/ Sticking with XP (or Vista - HA HA!)

      2/ Losing everything but basic printing options - no double sided printing, photo printing, multi-page printing; even the ethernet connection wouldnt work.

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Drivers and Xiaomi

    "I don't know why you're getting down-votes because it's absolutely true. I've had to throw away perfectly good hardware because the drivers were not updated beyond Windows XP too."

    And I've gotten to enjoy hand-me-down, perfectly working hardware, because people got rid of it due to it only having XP drivers... but Linux's drivers continued to support the hardware to the present day. People tend to have this fantasy that "Windows supports everything", blurring together support of Windows 98, 2000, XP, 7, and 8/8.1/10, ignoring that newer Windows versions indeed do lose or drop support for older hardware (which may not even be that old.) Linux, once an open source driver comes out the hardware is basically supported forever. In the case of a "binary blob" driver... once the vendor drops support for some hardware, you may be S.O.L. if the binary blob is expected to load straight into the kernel (for most drivers) or X.Org (for video drivers.) You may be fine if there's enough of a wrapper between the blob and kernel or X.Org... you may also be fine if the "driver" runs in user mode (for instance, Linux supports USB done from user mode, and printing in Linux usually is done from user mode too.)

    As for the Xiaomi -- I'm not that interested in an Air type device, even half the cost of an Air is pretty high for me. But I'm interested in seeing what the hardware specs are on this bad boy, and see if Xiaomi comes out with lower cost ones. I'm also interested to see if they install some nice Linux distro or something nasty.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Linux is ALMOST there.

    It's just the attention to detail that's missing.

    Various programs not supporting Ctrl-Tab to move between tabs, etc, etc.

    It's all in the details as Apple knows so well, and Apple's customers demand.

    Perhaps someone like Xiaomi will invest in sorting out the details, just like Google did with Android, and make real Linux viable on the desktop.

    EACH application installed must be made to conform to certain design criteria, or people will get pissed off, and rightfully so.

    There are other issues, such as moving away from X11 one day. But those issues are not really any obstacle to end user acceptance.

  12. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's advertised for sale, have a look for yourselves

    http://www.banggood.com/Xiaomi-Laptop-Intel-Core-i7-8G-DDR3-NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-760M-15_6-Inch-p-941729.html

  13. alain williams Silver badge

    Drat!

    I've just bought a new laptop since the old one died. First thing that I did was to upgrade it from MS Win 8 to Linux Mint - works very nicely, although I'm not keen on HP ImagePad (no mouse buttons).

    It came with a 1 year MS Office 365 - which is a waste of money unless I can find someone to give it to.

    I've been using GUIs on Unix/Linux for 30 years, all MS Windows on new machines just replaced.

    One worry that I have is legal restrictions that may come in as a result of TiSA/TPP that might make it harder for FLOSS.

    I am also worried as to what MS may do in a year or two - by which time it will have almost all Windows machines being upgraded in a way that it never has before (the important ones being PCs owned by home users). I can see it introducing changes to protocols and things like .docx files (under false guise of security/... reasons) - which will not be properly documented; so LibreOffice, etc, will be playing catch up even more and MS will be shouting that Open Source software is no good - while pretending that it has not planned this all along.

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