Owen WilliamsFormer TNW employee
Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.
Xiaomi is primarily known for its attractive, cheap phones, but it’s getting into something new: the Internet of Things.
It’s launching the “Mi Ecosystem” today, a new program which will sell internet-connected gadgets that work with its other devices. The company has a number of other devices already, including air and water purifiers, which will also sell under the brand.
The first official Mi Ecosystem device is a rice cooker that can be controlled from your smartphone. It’s not immediately clear why it started with a rice cooker, but the company touts you’ll be able to customize the firmness of your rice remotely.
It’s done via the Mi Home app and you’ll be able to scan rice packaging to get the right settings – more than 200 brands will be supported at launch and more than “2450 heating methods.”
Did anyone ask for that? I have no idea, but the common theme with the Internet of Things seems to be basically adding connectivity to devices that don’t necessarily need to be online.
Xiaomi, for its part, says that it spent 18 months working on the rice cooker carrying out a surprising “30,000 tests before arriving at the perfect combination.”
Regardless, the company says it’s invested in 55 companies that design smart products and has plans to invest in even more ‘smart’ products in the future.
We’re rapidly hurtling toward a future where everything in your home is internet-connected whether you like it or not. Xiaomi’s joining a plethora of other companies in trying to own that, competing with Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s Brillo.
If you want your rice cooker to be online, it’ll set you back a whopping $150.
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