Samsung plans to unveil a smaller “mini” version of its popular Galaxy S3 flagship smartphone with a 4in screen in Europe on Thursday, heightening its competition against Apple‘s new iPhone 5, released last month.

Apple made much in its launch of the iPhone 5 of its longer screen, which measures 4in diagonally, compared to the 3.5in of previous generations.

But now Samsung is aiming for the same market by adding a smaller version of the 4.8in Galaxy S3, which was unveiled in late May.

“There’s a lot of demand for a 4in screen device in Europe. Some call it an entry-level device, but we call it ‘mini.’,” said JK Shin, head of mobile communications, at a press conference in Seoul, Samsung’s world headquarters.

There had been widespread speculation that Samsung would launch a stripped-down version of the high-end Galaxy S3 to expand its market share in the mid- to low-end smartphone business. It is already the world’s largest supplier of smartphones by analyst estimates, although it has not released formally audited figures since the end of 2011.

Samsung said on Wednesday the Galaxy S3 Mini would not be an entry-level model. Samsung UK declined to comment ahead of the formal launch.

Samsung is beefing up its product line-up with such devices as the latest phone-tablet Galaxy Note 2, as well as ATIV smartphones that run on Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 system to compete with Nokia’s Lumia series.

Samsung plans to introduce its first ATIV Windows 8 tablet next month, and ATIV S smartphone in November.

Separately, South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted Shin as saying that Samsung did not plan to use its 4G LTE patents to attack its rivals, suggesting it was not considering expanding its legal battle with Apple to 4G technologies. However at the end of September Samsung filed a note in a US court indicating it would add the iPhone 5 to a list of alleged patent-infringing products though those patents may not include 4G.

Samsung is under investigation by the European Commission and international bodies over its use of “standards-essential” patents for technologies such as 3G in court cases against Apple: such patents are required to be licensed to all comers who are prepared to pay a universal fee.

A Samsung spokesman was not immediately available to confirm Shin’s comments.

From: guardian.co.uk – Read more