Unless you’re Samsung, selling Android phones probably means breaking even at best and losing money at worst. While Samsung has maintained a stranglehold on the high-end Android market, dozens of vendors in emerging markets have been fighting over the leftover scraps in the low-end market. And it looks like the Android phone market is going to get even more insanely competitive in 2014 because Chinese vendor Xiaomi has announced that it plans to ship 40 million smartphones this year, or roughly double the number of phones that it shipped in 2013.
While Xiaomi has had minimal presence in western markets, it’s made headlines for producing dirt-cheap Android phones that have high-quality specifications. The company last year released the Xiaomi Hongmi, an Android smartphone that features a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, a 4.7-inch display with a pixel density of 312 pixels-per-inch, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2,000 mAh battery and that costs only $130 off-contract.
If Xiaomi can expand its devices to more markets this year then it will put even more competitive pressure on vendors that are just now looking to break into emerging markets with their own low-cost Android handsets. Or put another way: Good luck, HTC.