Even the invitation was anticlimactic. Executives from Xiaomi, the world’s hottest mobile phone company, were coming to the US to brief reporters. But they would definitely not be announcing that Xiaomi’s phones would be coming to the US anytime soon.
That didn’t stop Xiaomi President Lin Bin and his deputy, former Android chief Hugo Barra, from unspooling a two-hour-long presentation on Thursday detailing why and how the company had in four short years become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker. By the time they were done, two things were clear. Xiaomi could become a genuine rival to Apple even without coming to the US. But even if it doesn’t, it could force changes in how smartphones work for everyone.