Opinion | The Xiaomi MIUI 11 rollout is a sham right now
As we have covered previously, Xiaomi has been rolling out multiple builds of MIUI 11 based on different versions of Android. While other Android OEMs like Huawei and Samsung have tied each version of their in-house OSes to one version of Android for the last few years, Xiaomi continues to base MIUI on multiple Android releases. Possible confusion aside, we have no issues with the approach pursued by Xiaomi. Theoretically, the company can release the same feature set with MIUI 11 regardless of the version of Android on which it is based.
However, there appears to be no hierarchy in the phasing of the MIUI 11 rollout. Strictly speaking, Xiaomi has only rolled out Android 10 to two devices, despite thirteen models being listed in the first phase of its MIUI release schedule. Android 10 exclusivity does not appear to be tied with flagship devices, either. While the Mi 9 and Mi 9T Pro have now started receiving Android 10-based builds globally, the Mi 8 and Mi 8 Pro remain on Android 9.0 Pie MIUI 11 builds. Xiaomi has also pushed Android 9 Pie builds of MIUI 11 to the Mi Mix 2S, Mi Mix 3 and Pocophone F1 with no clear date of when they will receive Android 10. A host of other devices, including the Redmi 7, have received Android 9.0 Pie versions of MIUI 11 too.
Currently, this scattergun approach means that MIUI 11 does not always equal the same version of Android even for flagship handsets. We suspect that Xiaomi will bring some of those devices onto Android 10 eventually, especially the only thirteen-month old Mi Mix 3. Nonetheless, announcing MIUI 11 alongside Android 10 while keeping some devices on a second-grade version of MIUI 11 without warning feels disingenuous at best.