Xiaomi announced its trio of Redmi 6-series phones back in the summer, with the budget 6A, 6 and 6 Pro (the latter also known as the Mi A2 Lite) arriving in June 2018. In January 2019 the successors are expected to arrive, and it’s our hunch that Xiaomi will skip entirely the Redmi 7 line and go straight for Redmi 8, as it did with this year’s flagship Mi family.
We often see Chinese companies skipping fourth-generation products, since the number four is not considered lucky in China (it is homophonous with the word ‘death’), but Xiaomi had another reason entirely for snubbing the number seven. The Mi 8 is a significant upgrade over the Mi 6, and Xiaomi hoped that skipping a generation in the numbering scheme would make this clear to consumers.
The next Redmi generation is also thought to be a significant upgrade over its predecessors, the first with an all-glass design as well as other interesting features, and Xiaomi will likely want to keep its numbering in sync between Redmi and Mi. Or at least we hope it will, since it’s confusing enough as it is already.
But, of course, we could be completely wrong and it’s the Redmi 7 series that we see after all in 2019.
The company has already teased a 48Mp smartphone that is launching in January, with this lens thought to be one of a trio of cameras on the rear of the device.
We know it’s not the Xiaomi Play gaming phone, which will arrive on 24 December, and we know it’s not a flagship because it’s running the Snapdragon 675 rather than the 845/855.
The Snapdragon 675 is an 11nm chip designed for mid-range phones, comprising the Kryo 460 architecture based on Cortex-A76 and -A55 cores.
This 48Mp camera may well be reserved for the Redmi 8 Pro model, while the 8 and 8A will have somewhat slimmed-down specs.
A device with the model number M1901F9T has appeared on TENAA and is thought to be an update on the Redmi 6 family.
Some early photos from TENAA (shown above) reveal a rear fingerprint scanner, a dual-camera with AI, and a waterdrop-style screen notch, though the latter is contrary to rumours that there will be a ‘punch-hole’ style selfie camera cutout. We also know this phone has a 5.84in LCD display and a 2,900mAh battery.
Three phones with similar-looking model numbers have also popped up at the Chinese 3C for certification, with the M1901F7C, M1901F7E and M1901F7T each featuring budget-level 10W (5V/2A) charging.
The slightly differing model numbers suggest there may in fact be four phones - could we also see a Mi 8X? Though it’s not a Redmi phone, the Mi 6X sits at the budget end of the flagship Mi line and in the UK is sold as the Mi A2, the non-Lite version of the Redmi 6 Pro.
How much will the Redmi 8 cost?
Estimating the price of the upcoming Redmi 8 series is difficult when you consider that there will likely be three or maybe even four models, and the only whispers we’ve heard is that the 48Mp model will cost more than CNY 2,000, which is about £230/US$290. Prices are always going to be a little higher in the UK anyway, since Xiaomi has less control over the supply and distribution chain.
The current generation, which includes the 6A, 6 and 6 Pro (or Mi A2 Lite) retail in the UK at £99, £149 and £179 respectively, while the Mi 6X (or Mi A2) costs from £259, so we could see at least a £50 price hike over the outgoing generation.
When is the Redmi 8 coming out?
Xiaomi President Lin Bin has confirmed via Weibo that the 48Mp phone will be announced in January 2019, and we are presuming for now that it is a member of the Redmi 8 line.
We do not yet know the exact date of the launch, though it could tie in with that of the 5G Mi Mix 3. We’ll bring you more details as we hear them.
Expect the Redmi 8 series to launch first in China, and come later to other markets such as India, the UK, France, Spain and Italy. In the meantime you’ll almost certainly be able to pick them up from the likes of GearBest, though we urge you to look for Global or International ROM variants.
Read next: Best Xiaomi Phones