The quirky quest for a small smartphone will fail

Do you want a small but premium smartphone that offers all the benefits of today’s large screen devices in a smaller footprint?

Eric Migikovsky Do. Founder of smartwatch company agate In 2012, he launched the smartphone of his dreams into a new website ( hopes 50,000 similar enthusiasts will sign a petition to get Android makers’ attention.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that small premium phones aren’t on the OEM roadmap, so I decided to fix the problem myself. Consider making a phone.”

There’s a long list of dream specs, but the main item on the wish list is a display that matches the iPhone 13 Mini, a dual-lens camera system that’s less than 6 inches tall and matches the Pixel 5, and runs the native Android OS. It is an unlocked bootloader and is powered by the SnapDragon 8 series.

No phone on the market today meets this attractive power user specification. Surely manufacturers need to recognize that they are small and powerful so they can run with them? The problem is that when small phones with the specifications of high-end phones were introduced to consumers in the past… It’s that I haven’t bought enough.

The best example here is Apple. The iPhone 12 Mini was heralded as a smaller iPhone with the same features and features as the regular iPhone 12. Besides being an iOS device and serving a very limited market, the sheer number of iPhone fans suggests: There will be enough people who want a small smartphone that Apple can easily win.

Readers, Apple’s victory was not easy.

Orders continued to decline for the smaller iPhones, but the larger iPhones captured a larger market share. Apple has the iPhone SE, but looking at the rest of the specs beyond the size, it’s almost a mid-range handset…

…but the iPhone SE is still far more popular than the iPhone Mini. Apple fans who wanted a smaller size opted for the iPhone SE, knowing that the specs (screen size, etc.) would be lower than the iPhone’s main line, as well as the iPhone Mini coming in a few months.

With the latest components, the specs of a smaller smartphone in the mid-range doesn’t have to be excellent, it just needs to get the job done.

And this is where the small phone debate always recurs. If you’re working hard for a physically smaller size, the market has shown time and time again that pushing flagship specs into a small space doesn’t sell. If you want to sell a flagship phone, you need to increase the size.

Through years of iteration, the smartphone market has been stratified into a well-defined market space. You have an extra-large phone with very high specs on top (and foldable on top). Before we get to the low-end handsets that have high-end and moderate-sized phones, mid-range and moderate-sized phones, and a few mid-range and small phones, and are at the bottom of the price ladder.

Is there any demand for the phone besides these trenches? surely. As of this writing, the site has 24,000 signatures. That’s two orders of magnitude lower than what’s needed to get major Android manufacturers interested in starting to study the potential of the project.

You can’t always get what you want. Every hardware project must have trade-offs. And the advantages and disadvantages of high-end small smartphones are simple. There is little commercial interest. It has been tried before and there is no reason to reexamine its conclusions.

Now read the latest smartphone headlines from Forbes’ weekly Android Circuit digest.


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