In brief: Once again, Xiaomi has released a smartphone with a transparent back, showing off the 'internals.' This time, however, the company is being honest about the feature: the 'parts' you see are just etched onto a fake board covering the real components.
Back in May last year, Xiaomi released the Mi 8; a phone that looked an awful lot like the iPhone X. A version of this handset, the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, came with a transparent back panel, which supposedly showed off the motherboard and processor.
Many people suspected the components on show weren't real, but Xiaomi insisted that they were. Eventually, leaked images showing these alleged parts appeared online, confirming that it was just a cosmetic plate covering the actual hardware. It seems Xiaomi called it "real" simply because it wasn't a sticker.
With the upcoming Mi 9, Xiaomi is releasing another transparent version. This time, however, it isn't hiding the fact that what's visible is for cosmetic purposes. Company CEO and founder Lei Jun has used his Weibo account to post images of the next Explorer Edition. He explained that the design was etched onto a 0.3mm aluminum sheet using a CNC machine with a tiny cutter.
Android Police notes that the laptop-style design features a Qualcomm Snapdragon logo, just like the Mi 8 version, along with phrases including "MIUI," "Super Mi," "Mi Fans," "48MP AI Camera Ultra Wide," and "Battle Angel."
Lei also revealed some of the phone's actual hardware: a "7-piece" lens, 48MP rear AI-powered camera with an f/1.47 aperture, and a massive 12GB of RAM.
Expect to learn more about the Xiaomi Mi 9 at MWC, which starts next week.