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Electronics firms go 'mini'

Publication Date : 18-10-2012

 

With the rising trend of bigger is better, are wireless gadgets getting too big for the global consumer market?

That is the question that comes to mind as major electronics makers push mini versions of their already-released wireless gadgets.

Samsung Electronics unveiled the Galaxy S3 mini at an event in Germany last week.

The 4-inch Galaxy S3 mini is 0.8 of an inch smaller than the firm’s flagship smartphone Galaxy S3 but has the same feel to it.

Designed like its predecessor Galaxy S3, the mini also sports a Super AMOLED display and runs on Google’s latest Jelly Bean mobile platform. The handset is also equipped with a dual-core processor rather than a quad-core processor like the Galaxy S3 as well as 1 gigabyte of RAM and a 5-megapixel camera.

The firm has also almost halved the price for the mini compared to the Galaxy S3.

Samsung is expected to officially roll out the handset this month, first targeting the European market which it believes puts priority on portability and convenience.

With Samsung going back to 4-inch smartphones, Apple is also said to be planning to unveil a smaller, lighter version of the iPad at an event on October 23.

An unnamed source told media that the new model will have a screen measuring about 7 inches diagonally.

But why focus on a smaller tablet after Apple founder Steve Jobs completely turned away from the 7-inch tablet market?

Jobs had stated during an earnings call in October 2010 that 7-inch tablets were “tweeners” ― too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad.

“These are among the reasons that the current crop of 7-inch tablets is going to be dead on arrival,” said Jobs.

Starting with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Research In Motion’s Blackberry PlayBook, Amazon and Microsoft have also launched 7-inch tablets since then.

It now seems to be a matter of when ― not if ― a smaller, 7-inch iPad mini will hit the stores ahead of the year-end holiday season.

“I believe [Apple] has come to an understanding that there is demand for the 7-inch tablet market,” said an industry source familiar with the matter.

However, not everyone is happy with the two industrial leaders going after each other’s market.

“Samsung is moving backwards in terms of its handset display size, acknowledging Apple’s stance that there is a demand for the 4-inch smartphones,” said another industry executive.

“I really can’t understand why the company decided to go with this decision after making all the fuss to create a market of its own.”

Kim Ji-woong, an analyst at E-Trade Korea, also warned that going after the low-end models could reduce the brand loyalty of both Samsung and Apple that they have gained through their premium-centered image.

“This kind of premium brand power is born out of product differentiation,” he said, adding that Apple’s iPhone 5 and upcoming iPad mini and the Galaxy S3 mini have not differentiated themselves from other products in the category.

Adding that Sony also previously lost its premium image with the release of low-end desktop PCs, Kim said that the companies must not settle with their current brand power but remain focused.

 

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