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With Stores Shut, Xiaomi Adds Epidemic Reporting Feature
COVID-19 and China
Xiaomi speaker. Image credit: FitNish Media/Unsplash

Xiaomi announced recently that it will close its offline stores in various cities across the country. The firm stated that it is related to a coronavirus outbreak that is currently raging and that assistance in the prevention and control of the virus is needed. The shutdown took effect from January 28. The stores will reopen on February 3, but maybe extended depending on actual conditions.

The director of the Strategy Analytics a well-known market research organization, predicts that global smartphone shipments will be 2% lower than expected in 2020 due to the new coronavirus epidemic. Smartphone shipments will decrease by 5% than expected-of which, shipments of the Chinese smartphone market will decline by more than 30% in the first quarter of this year.

There is no doubt that in the event of the epidemic in China and the global economy, related GDP will inevitably be affected, and consumer spending will also plummet accordingly, obviously, this will affect the sales of smartphones; This effect will not only occur in China but also in other markets.

It is worth mentioning that on Weibo, Vice president of Xiaomi, answered 'questions regarding the epidemic having an impact on consumers' mobile phone purchasing power. He said that the impact may be medium-term on consumption impact and supply chain coordination, and long-term on purchasing power.

Apple also announced that until February 9, it will temporarily close all offices, retail stores and call centers in mainland China. Some investment bank analysts immediately said that Apple's move may delay sales of up to 1 million iPhones, but it is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the company's revenue.

Huawei’s developer conference was delayed in efforts to avoid large gatherings in the country.

The conference, which the company calls its flagship event for IT developers, was scheduled to take place in Huawei’s hometown of Shenzhen on February 11th and 12th. It’s now been postponed until March 27th and 28th. 

Other than closing down stores to prevent huge gatherings, donating money to the Wuhan government, Xiaomi is using its tech to contribute to the situation as well.

Xiaomi's XiaoAI smart speaker team announced today that they have launched a new function in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Users will now have access to daily coronavirus updates simply by saying "good morning" to their devices.

With 1451 confirmed cases and over 300 deaths from the new coronavirus, the development of regular, relevant information sources is a logical response from the tech world.

Xiaomi, meanwhile, has announced that its four new models – Redmi K30, Redmi Note 5A, Xiaomi 8SE and Xiaomi Note3 – will now support the XiaoAi feature. 

One can simply upgrade the XiaoAi app to the corresponding version by clicking on settings, then XiaoAi and Enable Voice Wake to make use of the new feature.

Smartphone assistants are some of the main selling points of many mobile phones these days, from phones’ Siri to Xiaomi's XiaoAi to Huawei’s assistant. However, many mobile assistants only support the latest mobile phones, and rarely adapt to older models.

Compared with the often-conflicting news circulating on social media or on Wechat moments, the real-time dynamics compiled by XiaoAi are relatively more accurate and authoritative, and have higher credibility; the verbal updates are, overall, timelier and easier to understand.

At present, the smart assistants of major mobile phones are quite limited, and their functions consist of nothing more than viewing some mobile phone information, making outgoing calls, and having simple chats.

However, these functions are basically connected through the network – operation is based on uploading human voice commands to the cloud for processing, and then feeding them back to the mobile phone for a response. The so-called mobile smart assistant is more like a tool for connecting users to big data processing in the cloud. If you are cut from your network connection, the smart assistant cannot work normally.

Some considerations:
• In the future, smart assistants will still be inseparable from their network connections. If all data is processed on mobile phones, the requirements for the chips will be extremely high.

• As we enter the 5G era in 2020, the network connection delay is becoming further reduced, so smartphone assistants in the future will become more dependent on the network and will also be able to do more.

In other news – in 2019, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun(雷军)unveiled plans to launch more than 10 new 5G smartphones the following year, in a speech on the first day of the Sixth World Internet Conference held in Wuzhen Town, Zhejiang Province.

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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