The word update and the name Xiaomi, don’t go hand in hand. The Chinese OEM is notoriously infamous, for not updating its devices to the latest version of Android, even after months after they have been released, or in recent times, years.
When the 2014 flagship phone, the Xiaomi Mi 4 was launched, it came with MIUI 6 based on Android 4.4 KitKat. A year later into 2015, it was updated to MIUI 7, again based on Android KitKat. The issue isn’t solely with the older flagship, but also applies to almost every phone from the company.
Oddly enough, Xiaomi released its mid-range devices like the Redmi 2 Prime and Mi4i with MIUI based on Android Lollipop. Whenever users would request Xiaomi to update their devices, they were met with a nonchalant reply from the official forum mods, who often snidely remarked that “MIUI has all the features of Lollipop, why do you need an update?”. Clearly they were unaware of technical advancements such as the camera v2 API. This issue continued until a few months after Marnshmallow was released, and Xiaomi shocked everyone by actually updating some of its devices to MIUI based on Marshmallow. However, not all Xiaomi/Redmi devices got to taste Android 6.0.
The recently launched MIUI 8 suffers from the same fate, with most devices stuck on a Lollipop based firmware. This includes the Redmi Note 3, which as a result does not support the special features of some apps which have made use of the Nexus Imprint fingerprint scanner API.
This could change in the future, at least for a few devices, hopefully. Xiaomi announced at its forums, that it has officially obtained the Android N source code from Google, and also asked fans if they would like multi-window support based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Yes, we are a bit pleasantly shocked too, is this Xiaomi? What is more important is that the forum thread in which the announcement was made, also mentions the development of MIUI 9, which is set to begin soon.
When will MIUI 9 based on Android N be released?
With MIUI 8 yet to roll out globally, (it’s coming on August 16th ICYMI), I don’t think we can expect MIUI 9 until the second half of 2017.