In a move that would surprise very few people, Xiaomi has announced during its quarterly earning call that its massively successful fitness tracker, the Mi Band, will get an upgraded release this year. Chief Financial Officer of Huami, Mr. David Cui, was asked whether the Mi Band 4 was scheduled for a March or April 2019 release, and while the answer to that specific question is in the negative, he does affirm that a successor to the Mi Band 3 will be coming this year itself.
“For Mi Band 4, it’s going to be in this year. It will be in 2019. But I’m not sure, [if] it’s going to be in March and April. But, it is going to be in this year. Each generation we learn something, we always do better. And [for] Mi Band 3 — you can take a look at 2018’s volume, right. So it’s really much better as compared to previous version. So we expect Mi Band 4 will have similar trend. So once we launch Mi Band 4, we expect that product will sell well. Right now, Mi Band 3 is still hot sale — is still [selling] really, really well. The margin is not shrinking, the shipments are not shrinking. So we will work with Xiaomi to pick the right time to launch Mi Band 4 in the year.”
Huami is the exclusive provider of wearable technology for Xiaomi. The company works in close partnership with Xiaomi as it is also backed by Xiaomi, but it also retains flexibility to launch its own set of wearables under the Amazfit brand.
There are a few key takeaways from Mr. Cui’s statements. One — while smartwatches may not have found as much success with consumers, smart fitness trackers like the Xiaomi Mi Band and its successors and competitors have seen enough demand to justify the launches of newer generations of the same. Huami grew its revenues by 78% in 2018, primarily through strong sales of Xiaomi’s Mi Band and Huami’s Amazfit smartbands. Xiaomi has been adding in new technologies and features with every new generation of its fitness trackers, and the Mi Band 4 is expected to follow the same trend. However, what exactly this would entail is guesswork at this stage, ranging anywhere from a color display to ECG features.
For now though, the Mi Band 3 is not going anywhere for the next few months at least. As someone who has been using Mi Bands since more than two years, I can say that they do make for an attractive purchase decision.