15 July 2019
Xiaomi Mimoji did grab eyeballs when the company was announcing its new CC9 series in China. The feature makes cute 3D avatars of your face and lets you share them with your friends. Well, it was merely a feature announced and should have easily overlooked but what caught the attention is its similarity to Apple’s Memoji. In fact, the reason for us overlooking this cool feature would be the fact it looks totally a copied feature from Apple. But Xiaomi isn't liking these assertions and therefore, has stood up to clarify this controversy.
Xiaomi’s PR head Xu Jieyun posted the app’s naming timeline to let people know who's calling it to be the copied feature of Apple’s. The company is, in fact, threatening the writers who’re blatantly calling its Mimoji a copied feature of Apple Memoji. Jieyun said that the functional difference between the two products is huge.
He further said that when the company first launched this feature in May 2018, it’s English name was Mimoji, as evidenced by the package name of its Android application.
One thing must be noted that Apple doesn’t own the concept of virtual avatars. In fact, it also doesn’t own the trademark for Memoji. So, we can’t say that Xiaomi is copying Apple or hampering the Cupertino-based company’s intellectual property. As VentureBeat notes,
On June 4, 2018, it added user-customizable Memoji faces to Animoji — notably without changing the Messages component’s name — which hit all iPhone X, XR, and XS models with a final public release in September 2018. By contrast, Xiaomi notes that its own feature was originally called “Mi Meng” when it hit China in late May 2018, but had the English name Mimoji, as evidenced by the package name of its Android application.
Note that the feature is already a part of Xiaomi’s existing Mimoji avatar set, which similarly used AR to use user’s facial expressions and mirrors them onto anthropomorphic animals. And, now, with the new Xiaomi CC9 phones, Mimoji has gone one step ahead and is now crafting human avatars using AR.
But it should also be noted that the resemblance between Memoji and Mimoji is somewhat queer and in the real world, not everyone goes by the stats. In fact, a non-tech guy may define it to be Apple Memoji like thing and Xiaomi can’t take actions on such hazy talks.