Xiaomi Unveils Mi Band 2 Second-Generation Fitness Band

Mi Band 2, Xiaomi's second-generation fitness band, gets improvements, including a new OLED display, easier access to heart rate data and tracking for running.

Xiaomi, Mi band 2, fitness bands, health bands, iPhone, OLED display

Xiaomi announced its Mi Band 2 second-generation fitness band, which features a new OLED display, improved battery life, a new strap design and other upgrades. The first model of the Mi Band from the Chinese smartphone and device maker debuted two years ago.

The new Mi Band 2 gets a new 0.42-inch OLED display, replacing a system of three indicator lights used on the original Mi Band, and a 70mAh lithium polymer battery, replacing the 41mAh version used in the previous band. The new, more powerful battery offers up to 20 days of use on a charge, according to Xiaomi. The previous model offered up to 30 days of use on a charge, but had fewer features.

Also built into the Mi Band 2 is an improved pedometer algorithm to provide users with more accurate step counting. The latest device is 9.25 inches long and weighs 0.24 ounces, and features 6.1 inches to 8.26 inches of band adjustability to fit a variety of wrist sizes. The band is made of thermoplastic elastomers and aluminum. The new wrist strap design includes a softer, more comfortable material to wear for long periods of time.

The Mi Band 2 is priced at $23, compared with $14.99 for the original Mi Band. The new device goes on sale in China starting June 7.

Another new feature of the Mi Band 2 is aimed at runners; the wearable device tracks the pace of a run as well as a runner's real-time heartbeat and displays it on the device's screen. An accompanying Mi Fit smartphone app collects the data, makes recommendations and can help runners increase their efficiency.

The Mi Band 2 also monitors a user's physical activity and issues vibration alerts when they are sedentary for a long period of time.

The new band also adds a feature to help users instantly unlock their accompanying smartphones without having to swipe their screens or type in a code by automatically unlocking the phone when it is held near the band. The unlocking system uses a unique ID code in the band.

Similar to its earlier version, the Mi Band 2 includes Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity to a compatible Xiaomi or Apple smartphone, and is certified as meeting IP67 water-resistance standards. The band is compatible with Xiaomi Mi 2, Mi 2S, Mi 2A, Mi 3, Mi 4, Mi Note, Mi 4c, Mi 4i, Mi 5, Mi 4S, Mi Max, Redmi 1S, Redmi 2, Redmi 2A, Redmi 3, Redmi Note, Redmi Note 2 or Redmi Note 3 smartphones running Android 4.4 or later. It is also compatible with Apple's iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus and SE models running iOS 7 or later.

Xiaomi says it has sold more than 20 million fitness trackers so far, ranking the Mi Band as the second-highest selling fitness tracker in the world.

The new OLED display lets users view myriad statistics and information, including the time, number of steps taken, heart rate, distance walked, calories burned and more, by touching a virtual button or by lifting their wrists. Users can also switch between the data displayed without having to open the Mi Fit App in their accompanying smartphone. Users can also customize the data that's displayed on the Mi Band 2 display.

The OLED display is UV-coated, scratch-resistant and resists fingerprints, while also being readable in sunlight, according to Xiaomi.

In late May, six-year-old Xiaomi announced that it is buying 1,500 technology patents from Microsoft and will preinstall the Microsoft Office productivity suite and Skype on its Android-based smartphones and tablets under a new partnership deal. The deals will bring Xiaomi a wide assortment of patents relating to wireless communications, video, cloud technologies and multimedia.

Xiaomi and other Chinese companies, such as Huawei, Alcatel and ZTE, don't come close to leading the U.S. smartphone market, but they are gaining market share around the world at the expense of Microsoft, Lenovo and others due to lower prices, good products and unlocked device flexibility for buyers.