Lenovo and Huawei may release mini versions of their flagship smartphones in the near future, according to a report in Digitimes. Citing Taiwanese supply chain sources, Digitimes says that the upcoming mini handsets will have 4.3- to 4.5-inch displays. These will be released sometime during the second half of the year.
If this rumor is accurate, the two China-based phone makers will be joining Samsung and HTC, which have the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has been recently made available in the UK. For its part, the HTC One Mini is rumored to be slated for announcement this month, and for release in August.
Meanwhile, Oppo, another Chinese manufacturer, had also been rumored to be preparing a mini version of the Oppo Find 5. However, it appears that the rumor was incorrect. Apple is also rumored to have a more affordable 3.5-inch version of the iPhone in the works, which it could release in the third quarter of the year.
Digitimes notes that creating mini editions of flagship smartphones allows phone makers to take full advantage of their research and design and marketing efforts. In other words, all the time and financial resources that the company spent on developing and advertising the flagship handset, the very best offering from the company in a year, are once again utilized to develop the small versions. Instead of releasing a new, relatively unimpressive device with a name that will not have much recall, companies now opt to simply borrow the name of their more popular flagship handsets. This is purportedly why the mini versions have become a trend lately in the smartphone business.
This trend, however, has shifted slightly in more recent times. In the past, phone makers released mini editions that had much lower specifications as compared to the flagship handsets. Such mini editions were aimed at the low- to mid-range market segments, and thus had more pocket-friendly prices.
Now, with the upcoming Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini, smartphone makers are introducing mini versions which have specifications that are not so far behind when compared to the original flagship smartphones. Instead of being targeted at the entry-level market segments, these new handsets have mid-range or even high-end prices.