This little button will let you snap photos without unlocking your phone

This clever little accessory could change the way you use your smartphone, particularly if you’re always missing that all important photo opportunity while messing around unlocking your phone. It’s a small button mounted on a 3.5mm headphone jack, which you plug into your smartphone. A press will then take a picture without needing to unlock your device.

That’s not all. It will have 10 different, programmable functions, including being used to turn on the phone’s flashlight, or – slightly dubiously – record phone calls. All this will be controlled through a dedicated app, and each feature is activated using a certain number of button presses.

Xiaomi Mi Button SocketIf that reminds you of the Pressy Kickstarter campaign from last year, you’d be right, but this one is the work of Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi. Vice President of Xiaomi Global and former Google executive, Hugo Barra, posted images and a brief description of the button on his Facebook page. It’s not an official announcement yet though, and Barra is asking his followers to help name the device. Xiaomi uses the letters M and I on its phone hardware, and Barra suggests it may be named the Mi Key, Mi Press, or simply the Mi Button. It’s also not clear whether the button will only operate with Xiaomi phones.

Barra states the company wants to release the button to Xiaomi owners all over the world. He is tasked with expanding the brand internationally, and has already overseen an expansion to Singapore this year. We’re still hoping for some news regarding America or Europe in the future.

Fun little side projects like this button make Xiaomi stand out, but it already has a strong following in its home country. The initial run of 100,000 Redmi Note smartphone/tablet hybrids, which went on sale last week, sold out in just over 30 minutes.

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