Can the high-profile return of the Mi tablet save the Android tablet?

The Xiaomi tablet is coming back. This can be said to be the biggest "material" of Lei Jun and the rice noodles New Year's Eve dinner.

Subsequently, Zhao Jieyun, general manager of Xiaomi's public relations, also confirmed on Weibo that there will be a "tablet" in 2021, and emphasized that "the tablet system will be one of MIUI's key tasks this year."

The Xiaomi spokesperson first broke the news, and then confirmed it by public relations. It was almost a planned marketing campaign. The protagonist was the tablet that Xiaomi had already entered the "cold palace".

▲ Mi Pad 4 Plus.

Seeing this news, I had more "questions" than "expectations" in my heart. Google, the father of the Android tablet, has "let alone", and the future of the Android tablet is not clear enough. Moreover, Xiaomi has launched four generations of Android tablets before and after. Each generation has a different SoC, a different positioning, and a different external promotion. Sales and word-of-mouth decline from generation to generation, and the use of it is becoming more and more like "large mobile phones."

Regarding the positioning, specifications, publicity, and systems of the tablet, among the previous generations of products, Xiaomi's products are not clear and the products are rather chaotic. For example, Xiaomi Mi Pad 1 wants to be the "best Android tablet", while Mi Pad 4 has become a "drama chasing artifact".

In addition to the positioning problem, MIUI also failed to unify the ecology. The Xiaomi tablet initially uses the same 4:3 screen ratio as the iPad mini, but many Android tablet apps do not fit this ratio well, and most of them are the same as Android phones, which makes it very painful to use.

▲ Mi Pad 2 starting at 1499 yuan.

Years ago, such a high-profile "official announcement" had been silent for two years. Did Xiaomi finally figure out how to make a tablet (or tablet series) that meets the needs of users?

Another opportunity in the tablet market

When the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4 was released, we expressed that the Android tablet has become a plaything that "you can only buy if you have spare money" . We also believe that the "thin sense of existence" of the Android tablet can only be stubbornly persisted.

Apple on the other side, when the tablet market was sluggish, began to find a breakthrough for the iPad. Apple independently developed an iPadOS for the iPad, as well as the adaptations made on hardware and accessories, so that the iPad gradually took the form of a PC. More importantly, with the appeal of iOS/iPadOS, starting from third-party software, gradually adding "productivity" to the iPad.

In the special situation at the beginning of 2020, the demand for home and remote has soared, which greatly stimulated the tablet and notebook market and gave them a "second spring".

According to IDC data, in the third quarter of 2020, China's tablet market shipments were approximately 6.9 million units, a year-on-year increase of 21.7%, setting the highest year-on-year growth rate in a single quarter since 2014. At the same time, it is also estimated that 2021 will continue the growth momentum of 2020 and will increase by 7.2% year-on-year.

In addition, IDC also announced several major trends in the Chinese tablet market in 2021, supporting official keyboards, 5G, high performance, large screens, and a price of around 3,000 yuan. These features will gain a better market in the "post-epidemic era" which performed.

In the domestic tablet market, the iPad is not the only one. Huawei has exerted its efforts on tablets in recent years, relying on ecological gameplay such as "multi-screen collaboration" and "parallel vision", and positioning of "productivity" and "creativity" to gain market share Greatly increased. It even surpassed Apple in the third quarter of 2020, shipping 2.6 million units, accounting for 37.7% of the market share.

However, due to the subsequent “out of stock”, Huawei’s tablet market share fell, but it will still follow Apple in 2020 and have the second domestic market share. In 2021, Huawei's tablets may continue to be "out of stock" and market share will continue to decline. The vacated market share and the already growing environment will bring great opportunities to other manufacturers.

▲ Xiaoxin Pad Pro 11.5. Picture from: Lenovo

It is not only Xiaomi that is eager to try, but the two blue and green factories, as well as traditional PC manufacturers are also "just about to move." The Xiaoxin Pad Pro 11.5 tablet released by Lenovo a year ago is a good example of taking the opportunity to seize the tablet market.

Prior to this, Xiaomi, which has been steadily increasing its mobile phone market share, has tasted the sweetness, and naturally wants to continue to the Xiaomi tablet that has been in the cold.

What might Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 look like?

At the beginning of the birth of the Xiaomi tablet, the target was the iPad mini, which was positioned as audio-visual entertainment and a supplement to smartphones. The screens of smartphones are getting bigger and bigger, and 7-inch and 8-inch screen size tablets are difficult to bridge the gap with mobile phones. It can even be said that if it were not for a breakthrough in the direction of "productivity tools", tablet computers would have a very difficult life.

Later, Apple introduced the iPad Pro and iPadOS, slogan "Why is your next PC a PC", and also confirmed that the breakthrough point of the iPad is "productivity" rather than "entertainment." This is also the general direction of the unanimous efforts of tablet manufacturers.

The upcoming Xiaomi tablet will definitely abandon its "iqiyi" positioning and focus on "productivity."

Take mobile phones as an example. Xiaomi’s digital series is responsible for the upward competition, while Redmi took over the 1999 "price-performance ratio" and acted as a volume pioneer. Neither Lei Jun nor Xu Jieyun revealed whether the "Mi Tablet" released during the year belongs to "Mi" or "Redmi". But if you want to be "successful", it is more suitable to belong to Redmi. Putting the label of "extreme cost-effective" naturally has a lot of attention.

Redmi will launch the Redmi K40 series and the new RedmiBook Pro on February 25. It happens to lack a RedmiPad to complete the three major Internet portals of mobile phones, tablets, and computers. These three entrances cooperate with Xiaomi's mature TV and huge AIoT, covering almost every aspect of life and learning.

▲ The Redmi Pad 5G that went viral on the Internet, just look at it, don't take it seriously.

Earlier, a lot of information about the Redmi tablet was also revealed on the Internet, or it is equipped with features such as high refresh screen, dual 5G, four speakers, etc., and the sale starts at 1999 yuan. And also released a detailed page of the official website. But in terms of these characteristics, the high-profile comeback of the Xiaomi tablet or Redmi tablet may still be difficult to get rid of the fate of being left out, or that it has not seen the "competitiveness" that it should have.

▲ Pen, may become standard equipment for tablets.

To gain competitiveness, the key is to "combine hard and soft." The success of the iPad with Apple Pencil is more on the software. Apple’s own software and a host of third-party professional software have good support for Apple Pencil. On the Android side, Huawei's M-Pencil also has Nebo and other notebook software, which can give full play to the strength of the hardware.

At the same time, the ability of tablets to collaborate with mobile phones and notebooks is also an important step in building an ecosystem. With the release of MIUI 12.5, MIUI+ released by Xiaomi is a signal, and Xiaomi tablets will definitely join in this year to form Xiaomi's own "ecology".

After all, it is not a pure hardware era. The hardware specifications of the Xiaomi tablet are not the decisive factor for its successful comeback. It is how to make an "ecological" gameplay based on hardware and other products.

In 2021, can the Xiaomi Mi Tablet make it?

If you want to play an ecological trick, in the final analysis, it depends on MIUI.

It has been emphasized that MIUI can be said to be the core competitiveness of Xiaomi products. The volume of sound generated by MIUI is much higher than that of a single product.

"The tablet system will be one of the priorities of MIUI this year." In other words, MIUI will bring a brand new system to the tablet. With this news, many Xiaomi tablet users said that their tablets can finally update the system.

In the early days, the MIUI on the Xiaomi tablet was not optimized for the tablet form (or horizontal screen). It was basically a directly transplanted mobile phone MIUI, and naturally there was not much "ecology" at all. This is similar to the early Android tablets. It can also be said that without the targeted optimization of MIUI, the Xiaomi tablet has gradually declined.

▲ Google Pixel C Android 2-in-1 Tablet PC. Picture from: 9to5Google

Later, Google gradually gave up on optimizing the Android system for the tablet form, and then switched to Chrome OS. Other tablet manufacturers in the Android camp can only start from scratch, starting from the bottom to build a system suitable for their own tablet products, and features such as "multi-screen collaboration" and "parallel vision" have emerged.

As for MIUI, which started a long time ago as a customized system, I believe that more interesting "solutions" will appear. In addition to MIUI's own targeted optimization, it continues to drive third-party apps to adapt to tablets, and joint developers to adapt unique functions to Xiaomi tablets are also two major expectations for MIUI's new tablet system.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 5, or Redm iPad 5, no matter what its positioning, price, or specifications, the most important thing is how to prevent the Android tablet from becoming a "big phone" and truly take advantage of the large horizontal screen. Give full play to its "productivity", "creativity", and even construct an "ecology". The new MIUI tablet system has a long way to go.

Whether the Xiaomi Mi Tablet can succeed this time, in the final analysis, it depends on whether the MIUI on the tablet has enough "killer features".

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo