Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is breaking into the sports camera industry with a low-cost camera retailing at only RMB399 (US$63). The GoPro-style gadget is also offered in a RMB499 version, which includes an accompanying selfie stick.
Dubbed as YiCamera (our translation), the new product is made by Ants, or Xiaoyi, a Dropcam-like video monitoring camera maker that is a major member of Xiaomi’s ambitious hardware plan.
The camera features an Ambarella A7LS processor and Sony 16MP Exmor R BSI CMOS photo sensor that works with diverse types of lighting. Users can shoot with different video resolutions (1080p/60fp, 720p/120fps, 240p/480fps) under different scenarios. The f/2.8 aperture lens captures 155-degree wide angle views.
The new snapper supports various shooting modes, including 0.5S-60S time delay photography, 3S-15S time lapse photography, and up to 7 photos per second of continuous shooting. Designed for adventure buffs, the company also released a waterproof case for the gadget that keeps it dry for up to 40m.
Available in grass green and white versions, YiCamera supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and has an app for video editing and sharing. It is on sale now on Xiaomi’s website, JD, and Tmall.
YiCamera’s price is obviously the clincher in its competition against rivals. GoPro is expanding into China this year so as to reduce reliance on the U.S. market. GoPro 3+ Silver, which is on par with YiCamera in terms of specifications, costs $300. Xiaomi’s entry into the action camera arena will pose formidable challenges for GoPro in China.
The rise of the hardware craze has drawn a spate of Chinese companies to the action camera industry. Shenzhen-based drone maker Dji Innovations is planning to introduce hardware with advanced camera features and to build drones with embedded cameras, as GoPro is poised to launch consumer drones to supplement its action camera lineup.
Ezviz, an Internet smart video surveillance brand backed by Chinese video monitoring solution provider Hikvision Digital, released an activity camera last year. VIDIT, a similar product developed by a Chinese startup team, also goes after this market.