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Mini model smartphone sales falling short

gadgets Updated: Aug 02, 2014 14:39 IST
HTC One Mini

If reports are to be believed, handsets like the HTC One Mini and Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, which look like smaller versions of flagship smartphones but with lesser specifications, are failing to attract consumers.

According to sources in Taiwan's handset supply chain, speaking anonymously to Digitimes, these ‘Mini' versions of premium phones are selling in lower numbers than hoped because of "uncompetitive performance-price ratios."

All of the major Android handset-makers -- LG, Sony, HTC and, of course Samsung, the company that started the trend -- currently offer a smaller take on their latest hero phone and, if Digitimes is to be believed, each business is seeing sales that have "fallen short of expectations."

The news comes as Samsung gets ready to launch its Galaxy 5 Mini in the UK. It goes on sale on August 7 and, like its big brother is water resistant, offers a heart rate monitor and a fingerprint scanner that can be used for locking and unlocking the device and making payments via PayPal, but in a slightly smaller, easier to carry package with a 4.5-inch display.

But as well as being smaller, the screen also has a lower 720p resolution, its rear-facing camera offers fewer megapixels and its internal processor is much less potent.

HTC and LG have followed a similar route with their mini phones -- trimming specs as well as dimensions; only Sony has tried to distil all of its best smartphone features and specs into a smaller package. The Xperia Z1 Compact is almost identical to the full-sized Z1. The same processor, the same 20 megapixel camera and the same water resistance. All that's different is the screen (4.3-inches instead of 5-inches) and the battery, which is smaller because the phone is smaller.

However, even Sony is reportedly struggling to differentiate the two products sufficiently to get customers to buy both.

This could be down to the fact that they are priced like premium rather than mid-range handsets by network providers.

Digitimes claims that weaker than anticipated sales is why HTC is experimenting with phones that are premium on the inside but come in a cheaper, plastic shell.

The recently launched HTC One E8 offers the same performance and features as the flagship on which it is based, but does away with the expensive aluminum and alloy casing. The company hopes it will be seen as a flagship for the mid-range.