Ever since Apple launched the 2020 version of iPhone SE and it did decently well in the target markets where cost is a major deciding factor in a smartphone purchase, there were noises that other Android OEM will follow suit. While cost is not the only USP of iPhone SE, its compact size is preferred by purists who want a pocketable smartphone that doesn’t compromise on performance and also doesn’t break the bank.
Now that Apple also introduced the iPhone 12 Mini this year, questions are being asked to other smartphone makers in case they are also looking to launch a compact variant of their flagship smartphone. Xiaomi, which has been heavily inspired by the Cupertino-based tech giant, already has similar plans in place.
Xiaomi’s product manager Wang Teng had reportedly suggested that the leading Chinese company has been working on a Mini-phone for some time and warned the users to be ready to make some compromises at least on the battery life.
However, a tipster that goes by the name Digital Chat Station has suggested that mini-smartphones from Chinese makers are still a distant dream.
看到很多人想要安卓小屏机，先说一下目前没有听说国内哪家主流厂商有小屏机要上市。为什么？成本太高了。例如iPhone12 mini，它定制化元件里最贵的5.4英寸OLED屏幕是定制的，单独开模产线这是一笔不小的支出，即便选择国产屏没个几百万也不能搞定。小屏的市场需求还是太薄弱了，它的销量和.. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/lH2aTjpNwbOctober 21, 2020
While his leaks have been fairly accurate, he has mentioned that he has not heard any domestic maker listing such a phone. The primary reason, according to him, it is the additional costs involved in setting up a new production line. He states that the smaller iPhone 12 comes with customized components hence making a similar phone will require components customized according to the requirement.
He further states that even finding smaller displays is an issue. Even Chinese manufacturers do not have enough supply of smaller displays. Also, since the demand for such a phone is not high enough, hence the production of these smaller phones is not economically viable.
It is a well-known fact that Apple gets most components customized according to its requirements and since its devices are priced higher than most competitive devices, the company can afford to create trendsetting devices like these.
What is the fuss around compact phones?
Most smartphones launched in the last couple of year have had large displays, which now touching the 7-inch mark gradually. These large displays are ideal for media consumption and gaming, however, are not pocketable by any stretch of the imagination.
Other components and a large battery pack to power the massive display means that you end up with an extremely bulky device. Which is why users have been vocal about making smartphones compact and pocketable again.
Google’s recently released phones like the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 5 phones have hit the sweet spot of light, compact at approximately 5.81-inches and yet powerful devices with some of the latest processors.
With a couple of devices in Apple’s lineup falling in the compact smartphone category, it is about time, when other manufacturers will follow suit. We have Xiaomi hinting towards making such a phone and Sony’s Xperia 5II just tipping over the 6-inches mark is an indication that brands are serious about making compact smartphones.
However, till the time the components are mass-produced and Chinese smartphone makers start making these devices on a mass scale, pricing of these phones could still remain on the higher side.