Cool!Xiaomi Phone hands-on redux: dual partition system explained (video)

Not long ago Xiaomi, a Beijing-based company with around 250 staff, shocked the industry with the announcement of its conveniently named Xiaomi Phone. We are taking a look at a well-built tool packing a one.5GHz dual-core SoC, 1GB RAM and 4GB ROM, 4-inch LCD, GPS and GLONASS, and a generous one,900mAh battery. Set at an very competitive cost point of around $310 for October, this has no doubt made other local manufacturers — Meizu in particular — think two times about their current strategy.

But let’s ignore the competitors for now and focus on Xiaomi. Plenty of Android fanatics might already recognize this tiny startup as the star behind the popular MIUI, an Android ROM that offers a massive range of user customization along with the promise of great performance. Alas, they only had a glimpse of this at the Xiaomi Phone launch. Worse yet, it turned out that due to some miscommunication, the prototype unit they handled with actually had a elderly firmware, which didn’t do justice for the developers. Fortunately, they were offered a second chance to take a closer look at a way more up-to-date tool. Read on to see what they discovered.

They asked a Xiaomi engineer whether this dual partition feature can be implemented on other MIUI-compatible devices, but the answer was this is up to the manufacturer, as Xiaomi itself is not able to tampering with such a low level structure. Perhaps anyone from xda-developers can give this a go?

We’ll save you the details for the video above, but it is worth pointing out that the MIUI build for the Xiaomi Phone has a one-of-a-kind feature that no other phone currently support: a dual partition process. What this means is that you can have MIUI builds simultaneously installed on the phone (and strictly MIUI only; also, major OS jumps like from two.x to three.x are not supported), while the also share the same database for apps, contacts, calendar, etc. For example, you can keep a stable firmware on side while dipping your toes in to a beta build on the other; and if something goes wrong, you can basically return to the stable build. Also, you can still use the phone as usual while it performs an upgrade in the background — the new build is installed onto the other partition, and then the phone reboots from there without having to enter recovery mode.

Our own Xiaomi Phone ought to be arriving this week, so be sure to keep an eye out for our review soon. For now, enjoy our picture tour of Xiaomi’s Beijing headquarters.

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