The Chinese version of Xiaomi Mi Band 5 launched a couple of weeks ago without a widely expected feature. But there is a possibility blood oxygens readings could appear on the international iteration.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
At the outset, some media outlets reported that PulseOx did appear on Mi Band 5 when it was announced on June 11th. But this was not correct. Since then the budget activity tracker has started selling in China without the feature.
A number of companies sell wearables with this type of functionality. Fitbit and Garmin are two names that come to mind. Their blood oxygen readings are predomiantly done during the night and can be used to identify sleep issues. It is rumored the next Apple Watch could come with the sensor.
In the run-up to the Mi Band 5 launch, it seemed like a done deal. Most people were expecting Pulse Ox to come built into the device. But the main upgrades in the Chinese edition were a larger more high-res display, easier charging, improved processor and sensors, more sports modes, PAI, female health tracking and the addition of a barometer.
As strange as it sounds, pulse oxygen might appear in the international iteration. Typically, all the features appear in the Chinese edition and then are ported over to the global version.
According to GeekDoing forums, there are many references in the York Resources/Firmwares (the latest version of the mobile application Mi Fit) to SpO2, and Alexa instead of Mi AI Speaker in translations. Which leads to the conclusion that the Global iteration will include SpO2 and Alexa. You can see references to both in the screenshot below taken from the firmare.
The Chinese edition uses Resources/Firmwares dubbed Kongming. So far everything that was expected as part of this edition of the software was accurate.
A further possibilty is that the functionality could come via a software update for all iterations of the tracker. Huawei did something similar earlier this year with its wearables.
Whatever the case, it will not be too long before we find out. Xiaomi has announced that the international version of the device called Mi Smart Band 5 will launch in July. Also now there is now information on the release of Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Pro and Mi Band 5 Lite. Perhaps the Pro edition will be the one with the missing blood oxygen feature.