When Xiaomi phones are coming to the U.S.

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Hugo Barra, vice president of international at Xiaomi, shows off the Mi 5 smartphone at a Barcelona news conference on Feb. 24, 2016.

Credit: Martyn Williams

If you started salivating at the launch of the Xiaomi's Mi Note 2 and Mi Mix smartphones last week, you just might be in luck.

The smartphone maker's global VP (and ex-Googler) Hugo Barra has let the world in on a little secret -- they have already started testing phones in the U.S., with plans to launch there in the not too distant future. But what exactly does that mean?

In IT Blogwatch, we play the waiting game. 

So what is the deal? Nick Gray has the background:

It’s no secret that Xiaomi is set on global domination...Xiaomi has grown into one of the most dominant smartphone and electronics manufacturers in China and is making massive strides in...other markets around the globe. While Xiaomi isn’t even on the radar in North America, that could...change in 2017. The company has not announced any devices for the U.S., but Hugo Barra revealed...that Xiaomi has been network testing a special version of the Mi 5 in the U.S. and plans to do the same with the newly-announced Mi Note 2.

What does network testing in the U.S. even mean? Luis D. has the details:

Network testing is an important milestone for any smartphone company wishing to do business in the USA...the national carriers use LTE bands uncommon to those found in many of the world's places. The U.S. national carriers have strict compatibility requirements...and ambitious smartphone makers are eager to comply as selling their devices through them provides the benefit of increased exposure and sales volume, thanks to their retail channels and established customer base.

So, when will Xiaomi actually start to sell it's phones in the U.S.? Alexander Maxham fills us in:

Whenever Xiaomi announces a new smartphone, the biggest question...is when will it be available...in the U.S.? And for the most part, the answer to the question is “it won’t”...However, when the company unveiled the Mi Note 2 last week...something about the smartphone caught everyone’s eye...that was the number of 4G LTE bands...available on the Mi Note 2. There are 37 bands included and it supports all of the 4G LTE bands on T-Mobile and AT&T, but Xiaomi still has no plans to sell it in the U.S., officially.
...
Well...they are getting ready to enter the U.S. market, but...they won’t enter until they are ready...Barra says it may take another year or two before they officially launch their smartphones in the U.S. But they are coming Stateside at some point.

So, we have a year or two to wait until Xiaomi phones start turning up in the U.S. market. In the meantime, Sam Reed has one request:

PLEASE be the Mi Mix -- a bezel-less phone in the U.S. would probably establish their name really well.
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