Chinese tech giant Xiaomi is about to get into the robot vacuum business with the launch of its own Roomba rival, a set of recently leaked images suggests.
With a slew of other gadgets and gizmos already to its name, the idea that the Beijing-based company might launch its own Roomba-like machine doesn’t come as a huge surprise, though the company is yet to announce anything official regarding the possibility.
Photos posted recently on a message board in China show cardboard packaging with a printed image of what appears to be a robot vacuum, while another box clearly shows Xiaomi’s “Mi” branding, Tech in Asia reported.
The leaked material also offers a screenshot purporting to be from a “Mi Home Vacuum Robot” app that shows what looks like a floor map, indicating that its owner would be able to see the exact movements of the machine while they were out – a feature common to a number of other robot vacuums already on the market. In addition, the app includes data on battery levels and time spent cleaning, and also incorporates buttons offering various options such as “return to charger,” “clean out,” and “power.”
Insiders claiming to have knowledge of Xiaomi’s rumored cleaner suggested it uses “laser guidance” and will be assembled by manufacturing giant Foxconn, Tech in Asia said. It’s thought the machine could even be unveiled as early as this week for around $450.
If Xiaomi is indeed planning to launch its own robotic floor cleaner, it’ll be entering a space already crowded with some pretty nifty offerings from the likes of not only iRobot with its recent Roomba 960, but also Dyson, which offers a compelling product in the form of its 360 Eye machine, and Neato with its well-regarded Botvac cleaners.
There’s no word on where the machine might launch – Xiaomi’s U.S. website currently offers a limited selection of tech offerings, though Hugo Barra, the company’s vice president, insisted recently the company is “definitely” heading to the U.S. with its smartphones, though admittedly he’s been saying that for some time.
However, Xiaomi’s recent apparent difficulties in the face of increasing competition in the Chinese smartphone market suggests an expansion within the U.S. could come sooner rather than later as the company seeks to boost revenue and market share for its growing range of products.