Last month, Samsung announced the new Samsung Galaxy S4, a flagship device that will be arriving on shelves around the globe in the weeks ahead. The Galaxy S4 won’t be the only Galaxy S4 device that arrives in the coming weeks, however. In addition, the company has a device called the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini up its sleeve, a device that will compliment the larger, more expensive model.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 launched in May of last year and was released just a few weeks later. In October, many weeks after the Galaxy S3 launch and release, the company announced a brand new Galaxy S3 smartphone called the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, a smaller version of its flagship that would be touching down with lesser features and lesser price tags.
Samsung’s miniature Galaxy S3 wasn’t a smashing success like the larger model but it appears that there was enough interest in it to prompt the company to make plans for a smaller version of this year’s Galaxy S smartphone.
In March, Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that will replace the Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship and which will be coming with an assortment of high-end features including a 5-inch 1080p display, quad-core processor, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and more. Like the Galaxy S3, Samsung is hoping to sell millions. And like the Galaxy S3, Samsung is planning to release a smaller Galaxy S4 to compliment it.
Rumors prior to the Galaxy S4 event suggested that Samsung had a smaller Galaxy S4 Mini up its sleeve. And just recently. the company casually confirmed the device for arrival after the Samsung Galaxy S4 release which is set to kick off in April. Despite confirming the device’s existence though, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini remains a mystery.
Here now, helped along by some rumors and some of Samsung’s past habits, it’s time to make some predictions in regards to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and specifically, about its features, its price, its release date and whether or not it will ever make it to the United States.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Launch Date
While Samsung rented out the massive Radio City Music Hall in New York City for the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, we don’t think it’s going to go to the same lengths with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini launch date. We don’t even expect the Galaxy S4 Mini to make up Episode 2 of Samsung’s Unpacked launch events. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or something else will likely be a part of that.
Instead, we expect Samsung to rather quietly launch the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, much like it did with the Galaxy S3 Mini. With the Galaxy S3 Mini, Samsung chose a relatively random day to issue a press release for the device.
No orchestras, no Broadway actors, no stages. A simple press release and some images. That’s how we expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini launch date to play out later this year.
As for when it might be? Rumors have suggested that it could come as soon as this week, but so far, we’ve seen nothing. We think that Samsung will likely wait for the larger Galaxy S4 to arrive before announcing anything new. It wouldn’t want to detract from the larger launch. That said, May seems like a good month for an announcement at this point.
Galaxy S4 Mini Release Date
Samsung has not yet come out with a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini release date despite confirming the smartphone for arrival. Samsung hinted at the timing, saying that the device will come soon after the release of the Galaxy S4 but just how soon, we have no idea.
Our money is on the device arriving after the Galaxy S4 is delivered in the United States. T-Mobile has already revealed that it will be getting the smartphone on May 1st and it could be that other carriers, Verizon in particular, don’t release the Galaxy S4 until after that. Once that release is in the clear, then Samsung is unimpeded and can release a Galaxy S4 Mini that won’t interfere in the larger Galaxy S4 release date.
What this means is that we think the Galaxy S4 Mini could arrive on shelves as early as mid-to-late May, possibly sometime in June. At the very least, don’t expect the device to adhere to similar timing to the Galaxy S3 Mini which arrived more than four months after the Galaxy S3.
At this time, prospective owners in the U.S. would be able to buy the unlocked model for GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile.
Galaxy S4 Mini U.S. Release Date
While we expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini release date to arrive in May or June, we don’t expect U.S. carrier to offer it right off the bat. Instead, the U.S. may get it a few weeks after other carriers around the world put it on shelves.
Last year, while the Galaxy S3 Mini was announced in October, it didn’t hit shelves in the United States until November. It was released under different brand names, on U.S. Cellular it was the Galaxy Axiom, so it may have slipped under consumer radar.
Expect something similar to happen here. Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPhone 5S in July which would likely drive the prices of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S down. By releasing the Galaxy S4 Mini in the U.S. in July, Samsung would likely be able to cut into some of those sales in the U.S. which is a big battleground for Apple and Samsung.
Galaxy S4 Mini U.S. Carriers
While we believe the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini will be coming to the United States, we don’t think AT&T, Sprint or Verizon will offer the device leaving T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular as the only possible carriers.
Both T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular offered the Galaxy S3 Mini under different brand names, The Galaxy S3 Mini on T-Mobile was labeled the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit while the Galaxy S3 Mini for U.S. Cellular was the Galaxy Axiom. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee a release on T-Mobile or U.S. Cellular, but it means that there is at least a good chance.
Both carriers need some attractive and affordable options in order to lure consumers away from the big three and releasing a Galaxy S4 Mini, perhaps with the recognizable Galaxy S4 name, would be a good way to attractive some users that may have been thinking about heading elsewhere.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Price
One of the nice things about the mini versions of these phones is that they command mini versions of the larger models price tag. We expect the same from the Galaxy S4 Mini price.
While the Galaxy S4 will check in with standard on-contract pricing of $199.99 for the 16GB model and $249.99 for the 32GB model, any Galaxy S4 model coming to the United States would likely cost much less.
T-Mobile announced the Galaxy Exhibit for less than $100, far less than its asking price for the Galaxy S3, so we expect the carrier to offer a discounted price from the $99 starting price of its off-contract Galaxy S4.
Look for the Galaxy S4 Mini price to fall between $50 and $99 on-contract.
Galaxy S4 Mini Features
At this point, we have no reason to dispute any of the leaked features as they seem accurate. Samsung would never put anything on the Galaxy S4 Mini that would trump the Galaxy S4 so we never expected it to be coming with a 1080p display or a massive battery.
What we do expect are some mid-range specs that fall in line with what has been rumored, namely a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD display with 256ppi, 1.6GHz dual-core processor though rumors suggest it may also have a quad-core processor, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean along with Samsung’s new TouchWiz interface. Don’t expect all of the Galaxy S4 software features to be on board though.
These seem about right. A solid, mid-range device that can compete with cheaper iPhones and Android devices and offer some likeable features at the same time.