A report published by Digitimes, quoting sources in Taiwan, states that sales of “mini” smartphones have “fallen short of expectations,” and that the high prices attached to such devices are to blame. Manufacturers have been releasing smaller, less well specced versions of flagship smartphones for several years, but even the most recent models aren’t performing as hoped.
Singling out the newly announced LG G3 Beat, and Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact, as phones with sales lower than expected, the good news is it may force an industry change. Digitimes’ sources, working in the supply chain, said companies could “be forced to amend the strategies set for their mini models.” This may mean either lower prices, or improved specifications to match the higher price tags.
However, while the prices may change, can the big-name manufacturers compete with hardware from companies such as Xiaomi, Meizu, Huawei, ZTE, and even Blu or Yezz, which produce phones with better specs and cheaper prices? When the Z1 Compact, one of the best examples of the genre on sale, and less of a shameless cash-in on a popular name, fails to sell well, then perhaps not.
Mini versions of our favorite high-end phones are an attractive proposition. However, while we always hope for a similarly specced device, just with a smaller screen and more manageable chassis; the result is usually a slightly disappointing, mid-range phone which shares the full-size model’s design, and little else. This has become the established formula for mini phones, but perhaps next year, if sales don’t improve any time soon, we’ll see true mini phones we actually want to buy … Or a lot that we don’t.