The launch of the POCO F1 in 2018 was an unexpected move from Xiaomi. While the company had been building affordable flagship smartphones for years, the new sub-brand was intended to deliver uncompromising performance for the lowest price possible. The phone lived up to expectations (despite a lackluster camera experience), but nearly 20 months later we have yet to see a successor.
Rather than revealing the POCO F2, TechCrunch is reporting that Xiaomi has revealed that it plans to spin off the POCO sub-brand, allowing it to operate as an independent company. This restructuring will allow POCO to operate on its own, creating its own go-to-market strategy which we hope will deliver new flagship smartphones that can go head-to-head with devices from OnePlus and Samsung.
According to Manu Kumar Jain, VP of Xiaomi “POCO F1 is an extremely popular phone across user groups, and remains a top contender in its category even in 2020. We feel the time is right to let POCO operate on its own now, which is why we’re excited to announce that POCO will spin off as an independent brand.”
While POCO will operate independently, we suspect that the company will still share come resources with Xiaomi. In the fall of 2018, it was reported that the POCO sub-brand had 300 employees assigned to it, working to develop a broader product portfolio. Xiaomi didn’t reveal any immediate plans for POCO, but we suspect those details will be unveiled in the coming months.
Unfortunately, spinning off POCO in 2020 may not be the right move. Since the launch of the POCO F1, the budget flagship smartphone segment has become a lot more competitive with brads like ZTE, Nubia, ASUS and others stepping up with noteworthy options. If POCO wants to stand out, it will need to deliver new devices that are significantly better than the original POCO F1.