Xiaomi’s first smartphone with 3D Touch hits a snag

3D Touch in action on iPhone 6s. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

3D Touch in action on iPhone 6s. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Xiaomi’s efforts to follow Apple into adopting pressure-sensitive smartphone displays has hit a roadblock, with the Chinese company struggling to source suitable components at a reasonable price. This almost certainly means that Xiaomi fans will have to wait longer for its first handset with 3D Touch.

According to a recent report, Xiaomi has already begun working to bring 3D Touch technology to a new smartphone. In fact, some sources suggested that a pressure-sensitive display will be featured in the upcoming Mi 5, which is expected to make its debut this month.

However, a new report from South Korean outlet ET News claims Xiaomi is struggling to source the components it needs to deliver a 3D Touch display at a reasonable price.

“Xiaomi is currently searching for subminiature linear vibration motor, actuator and other manufacturers so that it can manufacture similar modules to ‘Taptic Engine’ that provides sense of touch feedbacks to Force-Touch function,” the report reads, citing industry sources.

“Taptic Engine usually costs two to three times more than current vibration motor as it is an advanced from of Haptic Solution and linear vibration motor that provides vibration function to mobile equipment such as cellphones.”

It is claimed Xiaomi is hoping to secure certain parts at product cost, and promising market exposure in exchange. However, manufacturers believe they would have to lower prices across the board if they slashed them for Xiaomi.

“Although it is always a welcoming thing to secure a new customer, we cannot view Xiaomi as a favorable customer to deal with,” one manufacturer told ET News.

For now, then, it seems Xiaomi’s 3D Touch plans could be on hold. It’s unlikely the company would ditch its focus on affordability and release an expensive device just to deliver 3D Touch, so fans may have to wait until components costs fall.