While much of the attention this year will be placed on the battle between the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, the new flagships from their respective companies, another battle is looking set to occur between the two rivals as both HTC and Samsung looked poised to release smaller versions of the One and Galaxy S4 in the forms of the Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini, currently called the HTC M4.
2013 got off to an extremely slow start with companies and carriers seemingly content on offering last year’s products. However, as the year as progressed, we’ve seen a number of big name devices arrive at the ready. Two of those devices are the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, both of which have arrived on the scene as the major players in the Android smartphone race as well as competitors to Apple’s iPhone 5.
Both devices offer impressive hardware and powerful software and both find a home on an assortment of LTE carriers in the United States, making them perfect options for those in the market for a new smartphone. However, they won’t be the only options with Galaxy S4 and One in their names it seems. No, it looks like both companies are poised to launch smaller versions of their flagship smartphones in the coming months, aimed at those that may not need all the raw horsepower that these devices provide.
Thus far, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has emerged as Samsung’s smaller candidate while earlier this week, we caught some more rumors in regards to the HTC M4 which now appears to be a smaller version of the HTC One and has thus been dubbed, HTC One Mini.
We’ve already taken a close look at what consumers can expect from the match up, and now, it’s time to take a close look at what consumers should not expect from the brewing battle between the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini.
Big Press Events
Anyone expecting a big press event for either the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini or the HTC One Mini is going to be sorely disappointed. Instead, these devices will likely be announced in the form of press releases issued several weeks before their release. At the most, we could see them arrive, albeit quietly, at a trade show like CTIA but even that is unlikely.
Both HTC and Samsung put tons of resources into the launches of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and despite the illusion, neither company is made of cash. And now, much of their budget is likely going to be tied up in promoting these two flagships so seeing grandiose arrivals for these phones is likely not going to happen.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini are both worthy devices, but they aren’t worthy of big time stages and that means that those interested are going to have to keep a close eye on the news in order to catch their arrivals.
Similar Release Dates
Both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 are thought to be launching this summer with the HTC One Mini pegged for a late Q2 launch, that likely means June, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini currently slated for a debut in July. Neither date is set in stone, so it’s impossible to say exactly when they will arrive, but expect them to have staggered release dates when the dates are known.
What we mean by that is this. First, one will follow the other. The companies won’t want to release them on the same day, let alone the same week, in order to maximize the attention that they get.
Second, it means that if they arrive on carriers, look for carriers to release them on different dates for the very same reason.
Huge Gap in Price
We still don’t know how much these devices are going to cost, but consumers shouldn’t expect a huge gap in price when they arrive. As we’ve seen with the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, these are two companies that like to keep pace with each other when it comes to how much their phones sell for.
While it’s ultimately going to be up to the carriers to decide on a price, we expect them to offer these for a little cheaper than the Galaxy S4 and HTC One and offer them within range of each other so as to be competitive.
As we’ve said before, a price between $100 and $150 on-contract for both the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One appears reasonable.
Exact Same Carriers
As we’ve seen with the arrival of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, the two companies aren’t on the same wave length when it comes to the carriers that offer their devices. With the Galaxy S4, it’s available on the five largest carriers in the U.S. With the HTC One, it’s only available on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile along with a smaller carrier in Cincinnati Bell.
Given that these phones are mid-range, we don’t expect to see this kind of a launch from either phone. Instead, we expect a few carriers, at least in the U.S., to offer them. And even further, we expect those carriers to be different.
Perhaps, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular will pick up the Galaxy S4 Mini, like they did with the Galaxy S3 Mini while T-Mobile picks up the HTC One Mini to replace the HTC One S.
Expect some other smaller carriers to latch onto these devices as well and expect them to be different from each other.
Same Software as Larger Models
The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One come with some very powerful software in the form of Nature UX for the Galaxy S4 and Sense 5 for the HTC One. Both offer some pretty fantastic features but as we have learned, many of those features are dependent on the hardware that they possess.
For instance, on the Samsung Galaxy S4, there is a sensor that allows users to simply hover their hands or fingers above the screen in order to manipulate on screen content. We would be surprised if this feature was on board the Galaxy S4 Mini.
And as another example, the HTC One features an IR port (like the Galaxy S4) for use with a feature called Sense TV. It would be surprising to see the HTC One Mini/HTC M4 arrive with an IR port though it’s entirely possible.
These, again, are expensive components and if the companies are looking to keep the cost down, they will certainly eschew at least some of the hardware that makes the software possible. They also won’t want to make their flagship models less attractive.
Huge Marketing Campaigns
These devices are both going to fly under the radar. What we mean is that consumers should not expect massive marketing campaigns out of HTC or Samsung or the carriers that carry them. Instead, look for them to arrive rather quietly, perhaps under brand names that wouldn’t give them away as Galaxy S4 Mini or HTC One Mini devices.
Last year, the Samsung Galaxy Axiom was U.S. Cellular’s name for the Galaxy S3 Mini, a name that certainly did not suggest that the device was of the Galaxy S ilk.
This year, perhaps carriers will use more efficient names like Galaxy S4 Mini and HTC One Mini, but even if that’s the case, don’t expect to see them plastered all over the TV like their larger counterparts.