MIUI was started in August of 2010 by a company known as Xiaomi (located in Beijing China). It was started during the era of the Nexus One and it aimed to bring an entire new user interface and take basic AOSP Android to a new level. All major apps (Mms, phone, file manager, contacts, web browser, settings) received major UI changes and MIUI was born. Its pronounced My UI (as everybit of the interface is customizable via the Theme Manager). The original ROM was 100% Chinese which made use of it outside of China useless. Thus a site known as MIUI-DEV.com was born (now known as MIUIAndroid.com) to translate the entire product to English so that users outside of China could use it.
Due to the unfortunate closed source nature of MIUI, lots of big ROMs such as Cyanogenmod and AOKP disliked MIUI because in the GB/Froyo days MIUI was built upon Cyanogenmod base, yet MIUI was closed source. So it angered open source developers as they couldn't see where there work was going. So MIUI on the release of MIUI v4 started re-basing flagship phones from AOSP and non-AOSP phones from stock firmware.
This angered the MIUI community as the ROM size increased tenfold and more bugs were encountered due to the difficult in applying MIUI to already highly modified stock firmware. So MIUI around Dec of 2011 began pushing some XML / java code to Github: https://github.com/MiCode. The MIUI ROM was in a nutshell was a test ROM to see if the community would like it on their flagship phones. Xiaomi announced that they work make their own phone with MIUI as the only native OS. Xiaomi launched the MI ONE, then the MI TWO (2 very popular phones due to the specs and low price). So Xiaomi now 3 years later is a huge Chinese company working on the MIUI ROM officially for 22 devices, 100 unofficially, 3 phones and an endless amount of apps.
As the ROM popularity grew, so did the features. MiCloud (Cloud storage), Xiaomi Account (Google like account for syncing data) are just some of the major features.
The MIUI version scheme is nothing more than the date. It goes Y.MM.DD, ex 0.8.3, which was the first year MIUI started ( 0 - 2010, 8 month - August, and 3 day). Currently we are at version 3.2.1 (February 1, 2013). Inside that versioning system there are big milestone releases.
MIUI FROYO = AOSP 2.1/2.x - Original ROM
MIUI GB = AOSP 2.3.x (GB) - Happened around v1.3.8
MIUI v4 = AOSP 4.0.x (ICS) - Happened at v1.12.30
MIUI v4 = AOSP 4.1.x (Jellybean) - Happened at 2.8.17
A new "re-branded" MIUI v5 w/ new interface is expected sometime in Q1 of 2013.
Our organization consists of the following.
Fri (after-release), Sat / Sun. Are feature changes and when we update our build scripts to accommodate additional features and ROM changes.
Mon -> Thur, XML translation changes from upstream Xiaomi and bug testing the daily "beta" roms before Friday.
Fri (we take all ROMs released in China, and modify them for MIUIAndroid and re-release on 4 mirrors across the globe, within 2 hours thanks to our automated build engine)
We have connections to upwards of 50+ custom rom developers. They aim to bring MIUI to more devices and communicate with us in IRC to make this possible.
goog information, I am with MIUI since GB Version and went of after that because changed phone and the LG Speed was teribble with MIUI. One small question. As you say Miui V5 rebranded and maybe released in Q1 2013. Are there any information about it, some screenshots or features know ?