Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled a smaller and less-powerful version of its flagship Galaxy S4 handset as it looks to widen its lead in the smartphone market.
Samsung’s 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 Thursday, without specifying a retail price or when it will be available. The flagship Galaxy S4, which went on sale last month, has a 5-inch screen, 1.9Ghz quad-core processor and 13 megapixel camera.
Its new handset may help Samsung maintain momentum after selling 10 million units of the flagship 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 Thursday. Apple’s stock has lost 16 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, Fubon analyst Arthur Liao said Thursday.
Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple declined to comment on supplier relationships.
AVERAGE SALES PRICE
Samsung and Apple are also competing against LG Electronics Inc., HTC Corp., ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co. in the $294 billion global smartphone market. Apple, which usually releases one new phone per year, sells its smartphones at an average $689 each, ahead of Sony Corp. (6758)’s $419 and HTC’s $414 per unit, according to IDC data compiled by Bloomberg Industries.
Customers can choose from two colors for the S4 mini, which will have versions to 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.
The mini version will be demonstrated at a company event in London on June 20, with availability of different versions determined by market, Samsung said.