China has always been an exclusive market when it comes to smartphones. The competition there is very different than the rest of the world. The reasons behind this are certain restrictions from the market and the absence of apps that the rest of the world. For example, they don’t have WhatsApp or Google App store; instead, they use WeChat and the respective app stores provided by their phone companies like Mi app store. That is why the major Chinese sellers such as Huawei and Xiaomi sometimes offer different versions of their smartphones or User experience software to cater to the market in question.
We know that the hardware present in these Chinese brands is on par with the other manufacturers. However, their UI has always been their weakest suit. That is why many consumers use the third-party launchers to get the Android experience they want. On the other hand, these companies try to imitate the look of the IOS which is not appreciated by many android lovers. Another reason for the distaste is the lack of integration with many apps that result in apps slowing down with time.
They are trying to make it a better experience for the consumers. We saw that the EMUI 9 and MIUI 9 were greatly improved software experiences provided by their respective providers. But they did not revoke the option to use the third party launchers until now. Huawei blocked the use of the third party launchers with their new iteration of the EMUI. Now, Xiaomi is following the lead, and their implementation of the restrictions are a bit different.
Let me explain how smartphones are sold in Chinese markets. There are official sellers of course, but mainly people buy smartphones from the resellers. These resellers exploit the conditions of the consumers by installing lookalikes launchers with adware. Consumers have to deal with the adware which sometimes becomes very tedious. That is the reason why Huawei took the step and blocked the use of the third party launchers throughout.
Now, Xiaomi is walking down the same road. A change in the firmware was spotted in the build of Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 build. The new “Security center” APK suggested that Xioami will block any kind of third-party launchers that are not verified, or not downloaded from their Mi App store. It will block the launcher from being the default launcher of the device.
Up till now, the Xiaomi’s approach was the same as Huawei’s approach. However, it gets better in favor of Xiaomi because they are trying to retain the customizability of their Software experience. The restrictions are only for the Chinese users only; the global iteration of MIUI 10 will not have such restrictions. The users who are using the custom-ROMS are exempted from it too. The approach Xiaomi took is less rigorous than what Huawei did, but at the same time, it works for the masses at large. Everyone on EMUI 10 would not be able to customize their UI. While Xiaomi’s restriction seems well placed.