Samsung goes mini: will Apple go maxi?
Which is the sort of trick, in reverse, that we've been expecting Apple to pull for at least two harvests now... and we've been wrong. Maybe this year?
Samsung's offering sports a diminutive 4.3 inch Super AMOLED display, so never mind the width enjoy the quality. It's light at 107g, but has a 1.7GHz dual core processor and, says Samsung, "supports many of the same intuitive features as the Galaxy S4, designed to enhance different aspects of life."
Samsung has gone big on the camera. There's an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.9-megapixel front-facer, along with software to organise pictures and load them up to Facebook - standard fare these days. But the features and software Samsung is choosing to highlight - story album and geo-tagging for photos, health add-ons for measuring sleeping patterns and heart-rate, and a stress on portability - all suggest that it has particular demographics in mind.
Samsung says the Galaxy S4 Mini will be available in two colours – White Frost and Black Mist. There will be a 4G LTE version, 3G version, and 3G Dual Sim version. There is no pricing or national release dates yet.
Given that Samsung's Galaxy is very much the iPhone's rival, how is Apple likely to develop its product line in response? The idea, currently floating about, that it might do its own new mini to the current iPhone 5 (which has gone long, but stayed narrow and pocket-sized) seems unlikely.
A bolder, and one would have thought, better, move would be to see the iPhone 5 as the mini or just 'standard' issue iPhone, and do a larger, broader iPhone, thus intercepting the apparent drift to so-called 'phablet' sizes by a surprisingly large proportion of the smartphone-using population.
Yes, many users like to interact with their phone single-handed (we can only speculate as to why), but many others like a screen-size that can do justice to video and (as the sausage-fingered amongst us often point out) is easier to actually interact with.
"Come on Tim," as we Brits used to shout at grand slam tennis matches.