The Hills Are Greener: These Are Not The Smaller Phones You’re Looking For

The Hills Are Greener: These Are Not The Smaller Phones You’re Looking For

Oct 15, 2012

Well, speak of the devil. I post something about smaller devices a week ago, and what does Samsung go and do? They announce the Galaxy S III Mini. It’s a smaller variant of the flagship Galaxy S III that was announced last week for release in Europe.

The problem is that this is really not much new for the Android market: like other smaller Android devices, it’s quite underpowered compared to its bigger brother. The processor is lacking, the screen is a pedestrian 800×480, and the RAM matches the international version but not the US version. It’s not the kind of flagship multiple-size device that I clamored for. It’s designed for a market that wants a smaller phone, but it’s also meant to be cheaper, a phone for a particular market and it may not ever come to the US.

What it isn’t is an iPhone 5 competitor; considering that the final design wasn’t revealed until very recently, it seems unlikely. Could it have been expected that Apple would release a 4″ 16:9 phone? Definitely. But the reaction time, a month after the iPhone 5 announcement and the target market of Europe don’t really lend credence to the “Apple reaction” hypothesis. Also, if Samsung really wanted to make a phone that would really compete with the iPhone 5 at a near-identical size, it would make more sense to make it full-powered, wouldn’t it? I’m not buying that it’s a serious iPhone 5 competitor.

What it is, is that it’s an expansion of Samsung’s brand and creation of their own identity. Look at the way that it’s using that design that the Galaxy S III is recognized for, and one that the Galaxy Note II is also using. It’s there to provide not just a more budget-friendly option for a certain user that may need a more one-hand-friendly phone, but to also keep that S3 branding and design consistent, even with their smaller, budget phones. Apple releases one phone a year. Samsung releases probably a new one every month.

Now, the S III Mini is not necessarily a weakling, but considering the way that even top-flight phones wind up sluggish at the end of the traditional two-year contract cycle, seeing a case like this where a good idea – a smaller phone using a flagship phone design – being another mid-range phone is a shame. It’s a good step, but not the one that could have been pioneering for the Android market.

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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