Xiaomi always does stuff like that. Every time, this company launches a product that causes a stir, it immediately gets the “out of stock” status. A few years ago, many reporters and users were thinking that Xiaomi behaves in this way to show how demanded its products are and form a bigger demand. Maybe it’s so. But there is another thesis – maybe it really makes great products and the demand always exceeds the offer. We guess the Xiaomi MIX 4 case is the latter.
Today, Lu Weibing, President of Xiaomi Group China and General Manager of Redmi Brand, said that due to the shortage of Snapdragon 888 Plus and the very low yield rate of the ceramic body, the supply of MIX 4 is tight.
The first batch of pre-sales was completely sold out. And he added that a small batch will go on sale on August 16. But the moment, this is all they can offer.
Generally talking, we’ve been expecting this to happen. We mean the Xiaomi MIX 4 combines latest technologies and innovations. So it is logical the company won’t manage to produce as many units as required.
Let’s see why this happened with Xiaomi MIX 4
The phone sports an under-screen camera technology, which is internally called CUP (Camera Under Panel). Thus, its production differs from that of regular smartphones. However, the off-screen camera is not the biggest issue.
The company used old-good ceramics for the rear panel. As you know, the Xiaomi MIX 4 uses a unibody design. Simply put, the whole back panel is made of one piece of ceramics. Not only the production of this is problematic but also a piece of lightweight ceramic costs 5-6 times that of a piece of glass. When the first-gen model was out, Xiaomi could produce only 10,000 units monthly.
But neither Xiaomi nor we are kidding when saying the ceramic unibody has extremely low yield. The entire process involves pressing a special type of ceramic powder into a mold with a 240-ton force while being baked at up to 1,400 degrees Celsius for 7 days. Moreover, the molded pieces shrink by about 20% in the end. So even the tiniest of fractures developed throughout the process would render the whole piece of ceramic unusable.
Anyway, after this, the pieces are put into a CNC machine to cut out the corners. This is the most expensive production process because the drill bits have to be replaced after processing each piece of ceramic, due to the extreme hardness of the material. At the end, the ceramic pieces are polished with diamond dust for 10 hours until it becomes as precious-looking as a piece of jade.
So maybe Xiaomi has improved the production process, but it still takes a lot of time, efforts and money to make ceramic bodies for the Xiaomi MIX 4.
Lastly, the Xiaomi MIX 4 uses a Snapdragon 888 Plus chip. This is not only the latest flagship chip of Qualcomm and hasn’t appeared on the market before but also we know there is a chip shortage problem on the planet.