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Samsung unveils Galaxy S4 mini

Samsung has 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, but Samsung did not specify a price or say when it would be available.


Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: Lighter on features than the original.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: Lighter on features than the original.


The Galaxy S4, which went on sale last month, has a five-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 may release a low-cost version of its iPhone.


Customers will be able to choose from two colours 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 colours 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 with the S3’s 50 days.


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.


Samsung’s share price has risen 1.5 per cent this year, while Apple’s has lost 15 percent.


Apple has reportedly contracted Taipei-based Pegatron to manufacture a low-cost, plastic-cased iPhone for release around the end of next quarter, according to analysts at Fubon Financial and Yuanta Financial. That device may sell for between $US300 and $US350 and have less expensive components than the iPhone 5, industry insiders say.


Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment on supplier relationships.


Samsung and Apple are also competing against LG, HTC, ZTE and Huawei in the $300-billion global smartphone market. Apple, which usually releases one new phone a year, sells its smartphones at an average of $US689 each, compared with Sony’s $US419 average price and HTC’s $US414.

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