So what if we told you that Xiaomi’s new Mimoji feature looks to be a ripoff of Apple’s Emoji. And, before you get upset, that Apple’s Memoji are based on Microsoft Xbox’s avatars. And those… are a version of Nintendo’s Mii avatars. Yeah, that’s in the right order. The Wii and the Mii were first, in 2006 — though you can argue the concept stretches a whole lot further back and to a load more places.
It’s all just one big mashup of ideas being reused in different formats. As such, we weren’t surprised when Xiaomi previewed its latest smartphone feature: cute chibi-like avatars with various customisation options. That are pretty much identical to the Memoji offered by Apple, down to similar hats and art styles.
The new norm
The idea of personalised 3D avatars was by no means invented by Apple. It has been around for a while, with companies like Samsung, Microsoft and Nintendo letting users create digital versions of themselves to use on smartphones, consoles, and elsewhere. The only real issue here is the naming convention of Xiaomi’s feature…
You have to admit: Memoji and Mimoji sound (and look)… pretty similar. Xiaomi reckon’s they’re fine, though. In a press release, translated by a Twitter user called Elvin (like Cher, but on the internet), the company refutes claims that Mimoji are clones of Apple’s Memoji. “We have conducted internal audits and found no evidence that our Mimoji characters have [been] plagiarised from any of our competitors including Apple.”
This isn’t the first time that Xiaomi has copied an emoji-related idea from Apple. The company launched its equivalent of Apple’s Animojis on its Mi 8 smartphone last year. The device also strongly resembled the iPhone X in terms of design, down to its own notch and vertical dual-lens camera. So, um, yeah, they can audit internally all they like, but that doesn’t mean we have to believe or agree with them.