Samsung is rolling out a smaller version of its Galaxy S5 smartphone, less than three months after the company launched its new flagship device.
The new 4.5-inch Galaxy S5 mini continues Samsung's tradition of offering a smaller, less expensive version of its flagship smartphone, and is illustrative of the company's aggressive approach in a highly competitive market that includes such heavyweights as Apple and its popular iPhone.
The new Android-running device, announced July 1, also comes a day after the Korean tech giant expanded its Galaxy portfolio of smartphones with four new devices that officials said were more affordable than other offerings.
In announcing the S5 mini, JK Shin, CEO of Samsung Electronics and head of IT and mobile communication at the company, said the goal is to offer devices designed to meet a wide range of consumer demands.
"The Galaxy S5 mini allows consumers to enjoy the iconic design and essential and useful features of the Galaxy S5 through a maximized minimalism approach," Shin said in a statement.
The smartphone market continues to grow, with IDC analysts in June saying that the global figure is nearing 2 billion and that device makers are looking for the next 2 billion customers in new and emerging markets, such as China, India and Brazil. In 2014, 1.2 billion smartphones will ship—a 23.1 percent increase from last year—with that number jumping to 1.8 billion by 2018. By 2018, smartphone shipments will outpace those of PCs by more than 6 to 1, they said.
Driving the growth will be lower-cost devices primarily based on Google's Android mobile operating system. IDC analysts expect Android's market share for this year to hit 80.2 percent, followed by Apple's iOS, at 14.8 percent, and Microsoft's Windows Phone, at 3.5 percent.
Samsung has seen strong adoption of the Galaxy S5, with more than 11 million reportedly being sold since the April 11 launch. Now the S5 mini will aim to bring greater options to consumers. The device is powered by a quad-core 1.4GHz processor, 1.5GB of memory and a high-definition Super AMOLED (Super active-matrix organic LED) display with a 1,280-by-720-pixel resolution. Like the S5, the new smartphone includes a perforated pattern on the back, which officials said gives it a better look and feel than competing devices.
It offers 4G LTE connectivity, front (2.1-megapixel) and back (8-megapixel) cameras, and such features as a heart-rate monitor, fingerprint scanner and connectivity with Samsung's wearable devices. The device will be available first in Russia early this month and then will hit other global markets. Officials were unclear when the Galaxy S5 mini will reach other countries, and how much it will cost.
On June 30, the company unveiled the Galaxy Core II, Star 2, Ace 4 and Young 2, all of which offer Samsung's TouchWiz Essence interface and run Android 4.4, according to company officials. They also have smaller screens and less-powerful chips than the dust- and water-resistant Galaxy S5, which sports a 5.1-inch display and a 2.5GHz quad-core chip.
The Galaxy Core II is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, has a 4.5-inch display, and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, though no LTE.
The Ace 4 is powered by a 1.0GHz dual-core chip in its 3G version and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor for its LTE model and a four-inch display, while the Young 2—with a 1.0GHz single-core chip and 3.5-inch display—is aimed at consumers with basic needs.
The Galaxy Star 2 also includes a 1.0GHz single-core chip and a 3.5-inch display.