Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) unveiled a smaller and less powerful version of its flagship Galaxy S4 handset as the world’s largest smartphone maker looks to widen its lead.
The Galaxy S4 mini features a 4.3-inch screen, 1.7 Gigahertz dual-core processor and 8-megapixel camera, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement yesterday, without specifying a retail price or when it will be available. The Galaxy S4, which went on sale last month, has a 5-inch screen, 1.9Ghz quad-core processor and 13-megapixel camera.
Samsung’s new handset may help the company maintain momentum after selling 10 million units of the S4 in half the time of the previous Galaxy model. Described by Samsung as a “powerful yet compact” version of the S4, the mini’s release comes as much as three months before Apple Inc. (AAPL) may release a low-cost version of its iPhone.
Samsung, which is also the world’s largest maker of flat-panel displays and memory chips, has advanced 1.5 percent this year to close at 1.54 million won in Seoul yesterday. Apple’s stock has lost 15 percent in 2013.
Apple has contracted Taipei-based Pegatron Corp. to manufacture a low-cost, plastic-cased iPhone for release around the end of next quarter, according to analysts at Fubon Financial Holding Co. and Yuanta Financial Holding Co. That device may sell for about $300 to $350 and have less expensive components than the iPhone 5, Arthur Liao, an analyst at Fubon, said yesterday.
Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment on supplier relationships.
Samsung and Apple are also competing against LG Electronics Inc. (066570), HTC Corp. (2498), ZTE Corp. (000063) and Huawei Technologies Co. in the $294-billion global smartphone market. Apple, which usually releases one new phone a year, sells its smartphones at an average of $689 each, compared with Sony Corp. (6758)’s $419 average price and HTC’s $414, according to IDC data compiled by Bloomberg Industries.
Customers can choose from two colors for the S4 mini, which will have versions that run on fourth-generation long-term evolution, or LTE, networks as well as 3G. The full-size Galaxy S4 will be available in six colors as new iterations are added, the company said last week.
Introduced at a Broadway-style event at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on March 14, the Galaxy S4 went on sale in South Korea on April 26 and reached the 10-million sales mark in 27 days, compared to the S3’s 50 days, Samsung said last week.
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