Samsung is expected to introduce a smaller version of its Galaxy S III on Oct. 11, as part of what analysts call a “carpet bombing” campaign to hurt sales of a smaller Apple iPad and upcoming Microsoft devices.
Samsung appears to have gotten the message that not everyone thinks big is best. The company has invited some members of the international press to an Oct. 11 event at which it's expected to introduce a smaller version of the Galaxy S III—its fast-selling smartphone that, with its 4.8-inch display, pushed the norm for device sizes.
A German invitation announces, as TechRadar
points out with some help from Google Translate, "That's how big small can be." Eliminating guesswork about whether to expect a Galaxy S device, the line's trademark S is in the background.
Investment firm Global Equities Research, after chatting with some developers, told investors that rumors of a "Galaxy S Mini" are likely accurate.
"'Looking at the source code of [the Android version] Jelly Bean, a small screen size support looks very plausible,' was the converged view we got," Global Equities Research managing director Trip Chowdhry wrote in an Oct. 4 research note.
"The converged view is that Google is undertaking a 'carpet bombing' approach to both Apple and Microsoft launches," Chowdhry continued. "Some developers think there may be six more Android device launches with various partners, [with] time spaced to take the thunder out of both the Apple iPad Mini launch and Microsoft tablet and phone launch."
Microsoft will release its Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 operating systems at the end of the month, along with its Surface tablet. Several sources have reported that Microsoft intends to surprise with also a smartphone
of its own design.
Apple, while it has said nothing of the sort, is expected to send out invitations Oct. 10
for an Oct. 17 event where it will introduce a mini version of the iPad.
Samsung took advantage of the long summer lull ahead of Apple's iPhone 5 launch to introduce the feature-packed Galaxy S III. Days ahead of the iPhone 5's September debut, Samsung said that it had sold more than 20 million of the smartphones
"The Galaxy S III has enjoyed tremendous attention and popularity since its launch in May, and we are thrilled with its success," JK Shin, president of Samsung's IT and mobile communications division said in statement at the time.
While the Galaxy S III received strong reviews alongside its record sales, its size made it not a fit for everyone. While thin and light, its width makes it impossible for most to manage with one hand—a feature that had once been a must for such devices. When Apple introduced the iPhone 5
, it was quick to point out that it still believes one-handed use to be a necessary feature.
"This is the monumental challenge we had—can you make a phone with more features that is smaller and lighter. Anyone can make a bigger phone," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, told the audience as he introduced the iPhone 5 in San Francisco Sept. 12.
For the first time, Apple changed the size of the iPhone's display, keeping its width but elongating it to 4 inches on the diagonal, for an aspect ratio of 16:9.
"Why did we make it this size?" Schiller asked, rhetorically. "Because of your hand. It should fit there. That's how we designed the iPhone 5."
On Oct. 11, expect Samsung to show that it's happy to do the same.