Samsung announced its Galaxy S4 Mini on Thursday, delivering a smaller, lower-end cousin of its hot-selling high-end Android phone with a 4.3-inch screen.
The Korean electronics giant has been steadily pushing smartphone sizes larger, but not everyone is ready for a the 5-inch screen of a Galaxy S4. And the new model will ensure Samsung a place in the market for more cost-conscious buyers, though the company hasn't yet said how much the device will cost or when it will go on sale.
Although the new phone has many of the S4's software features -- tools to take and organize photos, share content, translate text, and get travel assistance -- the hardware is a step down.
The Mini model is lighter, at 3.8 ounces compared to 4.6 ounces for the S4 and packs a 1.7GHz dual-core processor instead of a 1.9GHz quad-core model. Its battery is rated at 1,900mAh instead of 2,600.
In addition, the S4 Mini has an 8-megapixel camera versus the S4's 13 megapixels, although there's a lot more to image quality than just pixel count.
"This new handset is the ideal smartphone companion for anyone who wants a compact device packed with innovation," said Simon Stanford, vice president of the IT and mobile division for Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland.
The Galaxy S line has become not just the top contender in the Android phone market, but also the top rival to Apple's influential and profitable iPhone line. Thus far, Apple has addressed the lower-cost market by selling earlier-generation iPhones at lower cost, an approach that has simplified manufacturing and software support, but some observers expect the company to offer a lower-cost new iPhone as well.
The phone comes with version 4.2.2 of the Android operating system, aka Jelly Bean. Samsung will sell a 4G LTE version, a 3G version, and 3G dual-SIM version, to handle various mobile network situations, the company said.
With rumors bubbling up, the Galaxy S4 Mini was not unexpected. And the company took the same route with its Galaxy S3 and S3 Mini phones for the last-generation products.
The phone will come in two colors, black and white.