Aug 16, 2012 · 2 minutes

Xiaomi, China's homegrown Apple competitor, launched its second generation smartphone today in an event that would make Steve Jobs blush.

As TechInAsia reported today, fans were out in droves for the launch of the Mi2 at Beijing's hip 798 art district. What they got was a slick presentation by Xiaomi co-founder and CEO Lei Jun who used giant slides to and videos to show off the phone's impressive abilities.

"The entire launch event felt sort of like an Apple keynote," wrote Tech In Asia's Willis Wee, "and maybe that’s what Xiaomi was going for." Fans snapped up the 1,000 tickets that were available to the general public in just five minutes and cheered raucously for every announcement Lei made.

And he had plenty of showing off to do. The Mi2 boasts specs that compete with the very best – and may even be faster than the iPhone. The specs include:

  • Qualcomm’s new quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor
  • A 4.3-inch screen at 1,280 by 720 pixels, for a pixel density of 342 pixels per inch
  • 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD hi-res snap capabilities on both the front and rear cameras. Lei said the camera is so sharp it can be used as a mirror (which will be very popular in China), and that there'll even be an app for that, according to TechInAsia
  • Wifi display to share screens and images with smart TVs
The phone, will go on sale in October for RMB1,999 ($314), the same price Xiaomi's first generation phone, the Mi1, originally sold for. The company has already dropped the price of the Mi1 to RMB1,299 ($204).

Xiaomi's user-interface – the MIUI – is also getting an upgrade. Built on Android 4.1 Jellybean, it will have a Siri-like voice assistant, voice dictation, and cloud storage via the recently launched MiDrive. The Weixin-like messaging app MiTalk will also get a PC version, putting it in direct competition with Tencent's dominant QQ instant messaging tool.

The new phone is sleeker and thinner, and its advertising makes it look almost as sexy as the iPhone. To demonstrate this, I'm going to institute a very rare exception to our strict "no demo videos!" policy, but only because this is a China-focused promo to which few Americans would have obvious exposure. So, enjoy the illicit video content below at your leisure. [youtube]

For a different demo video that even the smartest of tech reporters can't figure out how to embed (NB: sample size = 1), click on this Internet hyperlink.