PadNews is reporting — via Taiwan’s Commercial Times — that Xiaomi believes it will sell 2.5 million MiPads in 2014 [Google Translate].
Understandably, they’re skeptical.
Their two main objections:
1) Other Chinese tablets of the same size are priced lower. The Retina-class iFive Mini 3, for instance, is about 999 locally versus a similar MiPad (2GBs RAM, 16GBs storage). And there are even tablets with larger Retina-class screens that are cheaper.
2) If the Chinese are going to buy something that seems expensive locally, they’d rather go for an actual iPad Mini instead.
Foxconn will be the manufacturer of the MiPad, so clearly Xiaomi is gearing up for a market larger than just China.
Unfortunately, one of those markets won’t be America. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Hugo Barra says that America is not part of Xiaomi’s plans for 2014.
Setting aside the amount of effort it would take to launch in America, does Xiaomi know something about the American market we don’t?
IMP3Net is reporting that although the Nvidia Mocha tablet leaked in benchmarks shares similarities with the MiPad, it’s not the MiPad [Google Translate]. They speculate that next month might bring other Tegra K1-based tablets at the Computex Taipei trade show (June 3-7).
That’s not far-fetched.
The original seven-inch Nvidia Tegra 4 tablet was first picked up and sold in China months before it appeared as an HP tablet, the Slate 7 Extreme. There’s still a very good chance that Mocha tablet is a reference design that could debut for sale in China very soon.
And as for America, there’s the awful chance that Mocha tablet could wind up as yet another tablet from HP. Given how badly they’ve handled the Slate 8 Pro, it’d probably be easier to buy a Xiaomi MiPad from a middleman seller — with a price-gouge premium — than to get it from HP or in any physical store in America.
Should Xiaomi feel it won’t make its sales forecast, they could always do what succeeded for them in China: Sell it directly to Americans by setting up an English-language website.