SAN FRANCISCO—Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Wednesday (Oct. 11) launched a smaller version of its Galaxy S III smartphone, featuring a 4-inch screen and running version 4.1 of Google Inc.'s operating system, codenamed Jelly Bean.
The Galaxy S III mini had been widely rumored to be in the works. Speculation was rampant that Samsung would roll out the smartphone Wednesday.
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The new handset is capable of working with EDGE and GPRS networks. Analysts say Samsung (Seoul, South Korea) is offering another, smaller form-factor model to compete with Apple Inc.'s iPhone. Some reviewers have concluded that the mini version of the Galaxy S III is more like Samsung's Galaxy S II in terms of features.
The Galaxy S III mini features a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display, a dual core 1-GHz processor and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with LED flash. The handset features multiple connectivity technologies, including near field communications (NFC), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It comes with 8 or 16 GB of ROM plus 8 Gb of RAM.
The Galaxy S III also features multiple sensors, including an accelerometer, digital company, proximity sensor and a gyroscope.
According to Samsung, the Galaxy S III mini uses gesture recognition to improve ease of use. The phone’s camera tracks users' eyes and keeps the screen lit as long as someone is looking at it, according to Samsung. When reading a text message, a user can also call the sender simply by lifting the handset to their ear.
Samsung describes the handset as sharing the Galaxy III's "design and simple elegance." The handset's curved frame is described as "ultra-minimal," delivering a natural feel.
"The Galaxy S III introduced a new concept of smartphone that has proven hugely popular around the world. We’re now delighted to bring its revolutionary design, intuitive usability and intelligence to the Galaxy S III mini in a more compact form," said JK Shin, president of the IT and mobile communications division at Samsung, in a statement.
Android 4.1, the latest version of the leading smartphone operating sytem, is said to offer fast, fluid and smooth graphics along with a new Google Search experience featuring Google Now.