The No. 1 Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which is the fourth biggest smartphone seller globally, is reportedly looking to foray into a new sphere-laptops.

According to DigiTimes' supply chain sources, Xiaomi is working on a lineup of laptops that are poised for an early 2016 release. The company is allegedly partnering with Foxconn and Inventec for that purpose. The production schedule for the laptops is not known at this juncture as it is yet to be confirmed.

The report also divulges that Xiaomi will initially launch a 15-inch laptop model which will be Linux-based. This size has been chosen as it is the most popular screen size in China. The Xiaomi laptop is estimated to be priced at around $470, per the supply chain sources.

The news is also corroborated by a Bloomberg report which also cites reliable sources with knowledge of the matter.

"Xiaomi Corp. is considering the introduction of its first laptop early next year, people with direct knowledge of the matter said, opening a new front in its battle against Apple, Inc. and Lenovo Group, Ltd," per Bloomberg.

The publication's sources also let on that Samsung is possibly set to team up with Xiaomi to supply memory chipsets. The partnership may extend further and Samsung could also provide displays for Xiaomi's impending laptop lineup.

However, the Bloomberg report is unable to shed light on the operating system which the Xiaomi laptop will run on. The company's smartphones use a customized Android version dubbed MIUI, so a possibility exists that Xiaomi may take the same route of customization for its laptops and not go with Linux.

The laptop from Xiaomi per Bloomberg's sources is set for Q1 2016, which is in keeping with the time window cited by the other report. Xiaomi looks to take on premium devices such as Lenovo's ThinkPad and the MacBook Air from Apple.

With Xiaomi poised to take a leap of faith and foray into the slowly deteriorating premium PC arena, which is dominated by Apple, it will be interesting to see if the company can replicate the success it enjoys in the smartphone space.

Photo: Jon Russell | Flickr

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