August 16, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
MIUI started off as a hacked version of Android that merged elements of a few Android UI flavors with an Apple-like sense of design. Today, it’s on more than half a million rooted Android phones, and is heading towards an official release through the Xiaomi Phone.
Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi announced today that it is releasing a hack-friendly consumer device powered by MIUI (pronounced me-you-eye). The phone will have an unlocked bootloader, dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor, 8MP rear camera, 1930 mAh battery, 4 GB ROM, and 1 GB RAM. All of that for ?1999 ($310 USD). The Xiaomi Phone will be sold unlocked in China with GSM/WCDMA bands, so some adventurous users may try importing it to the Europe or U.S. once the device is delivered in October (pre-orders start August 29th).
As interesting as the Xiaomi specs may be, the fact that it has MIUI is the most intriguing aspect of the phone. Xiaomi will ship with Android 2.3.5 MIUI pre-loaded and give users a chance to load whatever software they want. It will be tough to see them walking away from MIUI, which has support for themes and customization of practically everything, is ridiculously fast on the right hardware, looks beautiful, and has several software changes that make for an interesting version of Android. The design can come across as overly-done or “too iPhoney,” but it is very popular and slick.