Xiaomi is making a super-cheap feature phone with A.I. and 4G


In something of a surprise move, Xiaomi announced a new feature phone for the Chinese market. Launched through a crowdfunding campaign, the Xiaomi Qin phone will come with access to A.I., a 4G antenna, and a USB-C port — all for just 199 Chinese yuan (about $30).

Pronounced “shin”, the Qin features a T9 keypad, a 2.8-inch screen running a 320 x 240 resolution, and an extremely retro design that harkens back to the golden age of Nokia’s 8810 phone. Like the 2018 reboot of Nokia’s phone, the Qin will have access to some artificial intelligence capabilities (including real-time translation, according to some sources), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G connectivity on some models.

xiaomi qin 1 feature phone news in use

The Xiaomi Qin will come in two models. The first, the Qin 1, is the lower powered of the two models, with a MediaTek MT6260A chipset, a single ARM7 CPU core, 8MB of RAM, and 16MB of storage. Yup, that’s MB, not GB. The Qin 1 will only have access to 2G networks, and not have access to GPS or LTE, but it will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. It will run on an operating system known as “Nucleus”.

The second, more powerful handset is the Qin 1s, which sports a Spreadtrum SC9820 chipset, two 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 cores, and a comparatively mighty 256MB of RAM and 512MB of onboard storage. The Qin 1s has access to 4G networks and GPS, and will run on an operating system only referred to as “MOCOR5.” Aside from sounding like one of Captain America’s villains, there is little else known about this OS.

Both handsets will be equipped with a 1480mAh battery that Xiaomi claims will last up to 15 days between charges, making the USB-C charging seem like serious overkill, and also comes with dual-SIM support, an infrared zapper, and a bunch of other features.

The biggest difference between this and other feature phones? Neither model of the Qin phone has a camera on the front or back, or a headphone jack. Those are both major departures for the feature phone crowd and it’s interesting that Xiaomi felt neither were needed any longer.

The Xiaomi Qin is only currently available as a part of the crowdfunding campaign, and will likely never surface outside of China. However, it’s made some of a splash there — the crowdfunding campaign apparently hit 1 million yuan (about $146,000) within an hour of going live, passing the funding target a few times over.

xiaomi qin 1 feature phone news battery

The Qin 1 is available from just 199 Chinese yuan (about $30), while upgrading to the Qin 1s takes the price up to 299 Chinese yuan (about $45). The phone will release on September 15.

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