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Chinese Firm Preps Super-cheap iPhone 5 Rival

After the Philips-branded Samsung Galaxy S competitor, an unknown Chinese company called Xiaomi has upped the ante by delivering a top-end smartphone called the MI-ONE, which is set to take on all current high end smartphones including the iPhone 5.

Already 600 units have been delivered at 19,999 Yen, that's roughly £168 excluding VAT. The phone comes with a custom ROM (MIUI ROM) based on Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and even features an unlocked bootloader.

The phone has hardware specifications that are better than the Samsung Galaxy S2; there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260, a dual core SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage, a microSD card storage, a 4-inch capacitive toushcreen with a 854x580 pixels resolution, a front facing two-megapixel camera and a rear eight megapixel one, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a dedicated MI button, a 1930mAh battery (the biggest ever after the Atrix) and even customised back plates.

The phone is not currently available outside China and provided that the build quality is on a par with the likes of Huawei and ZTE, it could very well become a viable outsider.

Xiaomi hasn't confirmed whether it will launch other smartphones yet and who is backing the project. Given that the project was originally announced in mid-August, the MI-ONE project has had a surprisingly fast delivery.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.