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Xiaomi Outs Yi Action Camera: Not Yet In U.S. But Is It GoPro Killer?

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Xiaomi has announced its Yi Action Camera, a device that looks and functions similarly to the GoPro Hero camera but at half the price.

The GoPro Hero is the entry-level action camera of the company that costs $130. The Yi Action Camera, on the other hand, only costs around $64.

The device, while being sold by Xiaomi, is actually developed by partner company Xiaoyi. TechCrunch confirmed that the English name of the device is the Yi Action Camera.

According to a post made by Xiaomi on its official blog, the Yi Action Camera is able to shoot videos at 1080p and 60 frames per second through a 16MP camera that packs the acclaimed Exmor R BSI CMOS image sensor developed by Sony. From these specs alone, the device is already superior to the Hero, which is only able to record 1080p video at 30 fps or 720p video at 60 fps using only a 5MP camera.

The memory capacity of the device is also bigger compared to the Hero, as the Yi Action Camera features 64GB storage that is double than the capacity of GoPro's entry-level camera model.

The Yi Action Camera is also waterproof, and is able to go underwater to depths of up to 40 meters, similar to the Hero, for underwater and water-treading videos.

However, the device does not come with a case or rigging, which are accessories that come with GoPro cameras. For a "travel edition" package that cost around $80, however, the Yi Action Camera will come with a specialized selfie stick mount.

While the price and features of the Yi Action Camera could have consumers lining up in stores to grab one, interested buyers in the United States will have to wait because the device is initially being sold only in China. When the device will be made available to countries outside of China, if ever it will be, is not yet known.

The rationale behind the development of the Yi Action Camera is not really to release a low-priced alternative to GoPro cameras, in the same way that Xiaomi does not release low-priced smartphones just to clone Apple devices. The reason is because, according to Ben Thompson of Stratechery, Xiaomi has essentially grown to be an internet-of-things company.

Xiaomi is developing a host of other products, and is currently building an ecosystem wherein users will gain the most out of their devices by having more Xiaomi products interconnected.

Xiaomi has recently decided to enter the United States market, but not to sell smartphones. The company is looking to establish its presence in the United States by selling smart home products and accessories, such as the popular Mi Bunnies.

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