The Xiaomi Phone 2, a high-end smartphone that aims to challenge the iPhone’s market share in China, was announced in Beijing today. Aesthetically similar to HTC's One X, the device features a quad-core chip, 2 GB RAM, and a 4.3-inch 720p IPS display, all at a compellingly low price point.

The handset comes fitted with a Qualcomm APQ8064 1.5-GHz quad-core processor and an Adreno 320 graphics chip, a combination that the company claims is capable of rendering original Xbox quality graphics. The device features 8-megapixel rear-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras, and users get the option of a 2000 or 3000 mAh battery, though the latter adds 2 mm thickness to the device. The Xiaomi Phone 2 also ships with an augmented version of Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google’s Android OS. Xiaomi’s version of the software includes a Chinese voice assistant (with a reported 85 percent accuracy), as well as security and phone finder features. Users also get 5 GB cloud storage to add to the device’s 16 GB internal offering.

The Xiaomi Phone 2 announcement in Beijing

The phone comes in at ¥1999 (US$310), making it a significantly more wallet-friendly option than Apple’s iPhone 4S. Although still popular in the China, Apple’s leading smartphone doesn't enjoy the same market dominance there as it does in other parts of the world. The high retail cost of the iPhone 4S (around $800) is simply too high for many of the country’s residents, increasing the popularity of cheaper smartphones produced by companies such as Xiaomi. TZ Wong, an analyst with IDC, commented on this, telling Reuters, “Apple isn’t going to rule China, simply because of the limited models they have and the price points they target.”

Not only is the Xiaomi Phone 2 a cheaper device than Apple’s offering, but it also exhibits significantly higher specifications. The internals of the device are comparable with both Samsung and HTC’s current flagship devices (the Galaxy S III and One X), with Xiaomi's handset coming in significantly cheaper than both competing devices.

The Xiaomi Phone 2 is slated for an October release.

Sources: Xiaomi, Reuters