Samsung's S3 Mini paves the way for an Apple battle royale
AS technology becomes ever more pervasive, Samsung takes on Apple with a new smaller device that's the same size as the iPhone 5.
Samsung is not content with announcing a profit that nudges $8bn in a quarter, or with making the most sought after mobile phones in their class. Or with trying to invent an entire new class of touchscreen, digital notebook that aims to replace the pen and paper. This week, for the first time, the Korean giant said it would take on Apple more on its home territory than ever before.
That means Samsung’s latest phone is a device that features all the popular bells and whistles of its flagship, the S3 – but it tweaks the nose of Apple by introducing a special new model, the S3 Mini. It has much of the appeal of the existing phone – and a screen that is now exactly the same size as Apple’s new iPhone 5.
That’s not to say, however, that Apple is likely to start suing Samsung again – the S3 Mini is slightly more mini than its bigger sibling in both specifications as well as screen size. It runs slightly newer software, but it also uses a slower processor. Initial reviews indicate the difference is marginally noticeable, and some have wondered whether it will dilute the brand associated with Samsung’s first device to really challenge the iPhone hegemony.
Those specifications, however, don’t matter that much: the really interesting thing about this new phone is its indication that there’s nothing Samsung doesn’t think it can do, and no aspect of the vitally important mobile phone market it doesn’t apparently think it can own or improve. Where HTC, for instance, must focus on top-end phones because it doesn't have the scale for a broader range and Apple chooses to, Samsung’s scale is now such it is prepared to look at a new range of audio docks – which incidentally, sound superb – as well as its traditional TVs, computers and phones. Most surprisingly, perhaps, all of these ranges feature at least some models that are now best in their league.
One explanation for that is simply because Samsung can – but another is the gradual, comprehensive move away from individual pieces of technology to a world where its integrated in every aspect of all the gadgets we use, in the broadest possible sense. So this week Audi announced that Nuance, the company behind the voice recognition software in Apple phones, would also be powering its cars; British audio company Meridian is making audio equipment for Range Rovers and trying to get interior designers to consider their equipment just as they might a sofa; Google, meanwhile, is making glasses; and Samsung’s TVs can be controlled by gesture.
In a couple of weeks time, Apple is likely to announce the iPad Mini. It’s a smaller version of its existing iPad or a bigger version of the iPod Touch, depending on who you believe. Perhaps for the first time, it looks like Apple is the company that is recreating existing ideas in its own unique way. In some ways, that’s a continuation of founder Steve Jobs’ great philosophy: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”. Now, however, technology looks like it goes wider than just a gadget. As it changes all our lives, the multinational conglomerate, be that Samsung or Panasonic, looks better placed than ever.
By Matt Warman Telegraph.co.uk