Let’s get this straight. Xiaomi isn’t really well-known for faster Android updates. Except for the newly announced Mi Max 2 which runs on Android 7 Nougat, all of their smartphones launched in 2017 in India are still on Android Marshmallow.
But that’s just one side of the story.
Supporting a device doesn’t always mean Android OS updates. Take this fact, for instance. The Xiaomi Mi2, which was launched in August 2012 is all set to receive the MIUI 9 upgrade later this year. The phone will soon be five years old. Ever heard of a device being supported for this long? Of course, it doesn’t mean that Mi2 (and its successor Mi2s) will be updated to Android Nougat. Heck, it will still possibly be on Android Lollipop, but whoever is using these phones will get to enjoy some of the new features in MIUI 9 including the (rumored) refreshed design. MIUI 9 is expected to be announced on July 26th along with Mi 5X.
According to Xiaomi CEO, Lei Jun, there are still over 5 million users using Mi2 and Mi2s smartphones, and they all will be upgraded to MIUI 9 in a couple of months. For the uninitiated, the Mi2 had a 4.3-inch HD display and was powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM. True to Xiaomi’s tradition, the phone was priced at ¥1999 in China. The Mi2S was launched in April 2013 and carried similar hardware as the Mi2.
Additionally, devices like the Redmi 1, Redmi 1S (also sold in India) and Mi3 will be getting the MIUI 9 update. With Xiaomi, we expect most of the devices to stay put on older Android base versions while getting newer MIUI features like pinball, wallpaper carousel etc depending upon their hardware prowess. Xiaomi argues that their main priority is to ensure that the devices, no matter how old or new they are, don’t slow down when upgraded. It’s not convincing for everyone (ask those millions of Redmi Note 3 users who will stay put with Android Marshmallow even with MIUI 9), but then, no one likes to see their device slow down drastically after a major update either.
Update: This is what Jai Mani, Xiaomi’s Lead Product Manager has to say about the logic behind upgrading MIUI version without upgrading the Android OS –
“Our benchmark for updates, either MIUI or Android version, is to make the phone better. So even if the hardware does support it, it doesn’t always make sense to update the Android version. For example: we updated Redmi 2 Prime to Android L but did not update Redmi 2 because we didn’t feel that the experience was good on a 1GB device
Sometimes, in the case of older devices, often the hardware does not support updating the Android version.”
Xiaomi Devices Scheduled to get MIUI 9 update
Xiaomi has a long list of devices that will be eligible to receive the MIUI 9 (China ROM):
Mi 6, Mi 5s Plus, Mi 5s, Mi 5c, Mi 5, Mi 4S, Mi 4c, Mi 4, Mi 3, Mi 2/2S, Mi MIX, Mi Max 2, Mi Max, Mi Note 2, Mi Note/Pro, Mi Pad 2, Mi Pad 1, Redmi Note 4X (MTK), Redmi Note 4X (SD), Redmi Note 4, Redmi Note 3 (MTK), Redmi Note 3 (SD), Redmi Note 2, Redmi Note, Redmi Pro, Redmi 4X, Redmi 4A, Redmi 4, Redmi 4 Prime, Redmi 3S/Prime, Redmi 3, Redmi 2A, Redmi 2/Prime, Redmi 1S, Redmi 1.
The global launch of MIUI 9 hasn’t been announced yet but should be happening in a few weeks from now.