Xiaomi enters low-cost action camera market

Xiaomi's Yi Action Camera comes at a low price of about US$65

The Xiaomi Yi Action Cam.

The Xiaomi Yi Action Cam.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi wants in on the action camera market and is releasing a device that it hopes will attract consumers with its super low price.

On Monday, Xiaomi announced its Yi Action Camera. Designed to be waterproof, the digital camera is targeting users who want to shoot video extreme sports, or make high-quality recordings of their outdoor trips.

The camera is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and has a 16-megapixel camera from Sony that can record 1080p video at 60 frames per second. It will start at 399 yuan (US$65), or half the price of GoPro's entry-level Hero camera, which retails at US$130.

Xiaomi is selling the product only in China at the moment. But the company has plans to expand across the globe, including to the U.S. Last month, Xiaomi announced it would open a U.S. site that will first focus on selling phone accessories.

The company has grown quickly to become China's leading smartphone vendor by selling Android handsets at prices significantly lower than the competition. For example, its latest product, the Mi Note, a 5.7-inch phone packed with cutting-edge specs, starts at only 2299 yuan ($373) when bought without carrier subsidies.

The low-price strategy has worked so well that competing vendors, including Samsung, are losing market share to Xiaomi.

But the company isn't satisfied with just selling phones. It has grand ambitions of offering a whole range of hardware products. It already sells tablets, smart TVs, and connected home devices including an air purifier and a smart light bulb.

As for the Yi Action Camera, the product can take 155-degree wide angle shots and can record video at other settings including 480p at 240 frames per second. The digital camera can also be synched to upload photos and video to a smartphone, or controlled remotely via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.

It arrives after Taiwan's HTC launched its own digital camera, and after Apple applied for a patent relating to a sport-type camera.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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