Samsung announces Galaxy S3 Mini smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
Image caption The smartphone can track a user's eyes to remain illuminated when being looked at

Samsung has unveiled a smaller version of its Galaxy S3 smartphone, reducing the screen size by 0.8 of an inch to 4 inches, bringing it in line with Apple's iPhone 5.

The handset runs on Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google's Android operating system.

Samsung has not yet shared details of when the device will go on sale.

The announcement comes at a time Apple are expected to launch a 7-inch iPad, although that has yet to be confirmed.

The Galaxy S3 Mini, details of which had been widely leaked prior to Thursday's announcement, comes just six months after the launch of the well-received larger model.

The Mini has a five megapixel camera on its rear, with a lower quality VGA camera on its front.

It retains some key features of the larger model, such as an Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, which enables contactless payments.

Sacrificed in the downsize is some processing power - the model drops from the big S3's quad-core chip to a dual-core - and some screen clarity.

The S3 Mini's display offers fewer pixels - 800x480 - compared to the higher definition 720p display of the original.

While obviously smaller in size, the S3 Mini is a millimetre thicker.

'Just too big'

Stuart Miles, editor of UK gadget website Pocket-lint, told the BBC he thinks Samsung are playing a shrewd move to react to the demands of the market.

"I think from Samsung's point of view its about offering breadth and depth of choice.

"There's lots of people out there who think the Galaxy S3 is an amazing phone, but there's a lot who think it's just too big."

He said the impressive early sales of the iPhone 5 will have spurred the need for a smaller competing device.

"If you see that there's a massive demand for a 4-inch screen device, and you have the capability to make it, then you're going to make it, aren't you? I think it will do really well."

Simon Stanford, vice president of Samsung UK's telecommunications and networks division, said in a statement: "We will continue to develop smartphones to cater for a variety of customer needs and this latest release demonstrates our ongoing commitment to offering our customers more choice at every price point."

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