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Samsung delays S4 Mini in face of sluggish market

While a lot of news outlets have reported that the Samsung S4 Mini was scheduled for launch between May and July, KitGuru’s sources are saying that August or even September are much more likely dates. We look at the pressures surrounding launches into a softening market.

When the market for smartphones was peaking, Samsung penciled in May/June for the launch of the S4 Mini, but that has already slipped once and, it seems, is about to slip again.

The phone is likely to borrow some cool features from lesser brands like Sony – especially when it comes to weather-proofing the S4 Mini.

Ironically, waterproof and dustproof versions could prove useful if North Korea decides to ‘holiday in the south’.

Right now, the UK telco channel is telling us that Samsung is struggling to meet demand for the full S4 launch. In scenes reminiscent of a graphics card launch, Samsung customers are ordering 5-10,000 units and being told that they will get 100. Does Samsung genuinely have component supply issues or are they ‘doing a Nintendo’ and deliberately holding back?

While Samsung net profits have jumped almost 50% in 12 months, to stand around the $6.4 Billion mark – and analysts like IDC are confirming that for the start of 2013, “Samsung shipped smartphones than the next 4 vendors combined”.

However, shipments have slowed, with Samsung blaming suppliers, “We expect the bottleneck to be resolved soon” said Kim Hyun-joon, VP of Samsung’s mobile business.

Other experts are wondering just how much more growth there will be in high-end smartphone shipments, when the economy shows no sign of improving.

“You only have to threaten your mobile network provider with ‘Moving’ and they will lay a ton of offers at your feet”, one distributor told us. “That kind of emphasis on customer retention normally happens when growth slows right down”.

We’re left wondering if 4G will do anything to energize the UK technology market.

Samsung fans wait patiently for the S4 Mini
Samsung fans wait patiently for the S4 Mini

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KitGuru says: Holding back on the S4 Mini until the kids head back to college makes good sense. That extra delay would allow Samsung to line up all of its advertising muscle and drive hard into the ‘back to school/college’ market.

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