Samsung Galaxy S III Mini: There's Now Something for Everyone

Samsung introduced the Galaxy S III Mini Oct. 11, a 4-inch version of its enormous smartphone that was an enormous hit.

Samsung has introduced a Galaxy S III Mini, a "compact" version of its Galaxy S III smartphone, the company announced Oct. 11—exactly the day tipsters pointed to, after Samsung showed off the device abroad.

Samsung has put the original S III's "revolutionary design, intuitive usability and intelligence" into "a more compact form," JK Shin, president of Samsung's mobile division, said in a statement.

The Galaxy S III Mini runs Android 4.1, known as Jelly Bean, and features a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) display. There's a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel camera up front and a VGA on the back, an accelerometer, a digital compass, and proximity and gyro sensors, and just about all the Google Services one could want.

Samsung adds that the Mini has an "ultra-minimal curved frame" that has a "rich, natural feel." It also has S Voice, Samsung's voice-recognition software that can be used beyond searching for tasks like unlocking the phone, launching the camera or lowering the volume.

The sensor-based features of the Galaxy S III—which Samsung ultimately downplayed in the U.S. after a sensational debut in London, deciding that American audiences would be more receptive to the phone's sharing capabilities—are also in the Mini.

With the front-facing camera, for example, it can follow a user's eyes, so the screen doesn't go dim while he or she is reading from it. In another example, called Direct Call, the phones understand that if users put the phones to their ears directly after reading text messages, they want to call the message senders.

As for those sharing capabilities, they're also included. With S Beam, the Mini can share content with other S Beam-enabled devices with just a tap. A 10MB file can be transferred this way in as few as two seconds.

Then, of course, there's the display—which Samsung says features "brilliant color and clarity" and allows "a convenient one-hand operation." It's now also the size, on the diagonal, of Apple's latest iPhone.

An analyst recently commented that while Apple figures out what people will love and then makes that one device, Lenovo is market-testing within the market, creating several devices and seeing which takes.

While there's an easy comparison between Lenovo and Samsung, the difference is that lately everything Samsung makes, takes.

Its Galaxy S III pushed the norm for device screen sizes to the point that it couldn't fit in a pocket or be used in one hand (non-NBA hands, anyway) and still Samsung sold 20 million of them in 100 days.

Likewise, it raised eyebrows with the Galaxy Note, which features a 5-inch display—a size that Dell tried out and failed with years ago, bombarded with complaints that it was too small to be a tablet but too large to be a phone. Samsung, instead, sold more than 20 million units.

Introducing the Galaxy S III Mini, JK Shin added, "We continue to make every effort to provide extraordinary mobile experiences to meet a wide variety of user needs."

It certainly does.