iPhone 12 Mini? Why isn’t there a Samsung Galaxy S20e?
C. Scott Brown
Back in January (which feels like a lifetime ago) I wrote an article titled “Will the Samsung Galaxy S10e just fail as a one-time experiment?” You can read it if you missed it, but I’ll give you a quick recap: we realized that Samsung wasn’t going to launch a Galaxy S20e alongside the rest of the Galaxy S20 series and it made me sad because the Samsung Galaxy S10e was such a great phone.
Fast forward to this past Tuesday. At this point, Apple launched the iPhone 12 series, which also included the first iPhone 12 Mini of its kind. During the launch, Apple briefly summed up the phone: “With its compact size, the iPhone 12 Mini offers exactly the same functions as the iPhone 12. You just choose between two great sizes.”
I’m sure a lot of people who watched this live stream were already pulling out their wallets by the time Kaiann Drance finished that second set. However, I am also sure that Samsung executives hung their heads. After all, the Galaxy S10e was essentially the Android equivalent of an iPhone 12 Mini – but Samsung gave up the line before it even had a chance to assert itself.
Of course, it’s too late now, but the Mini is further proof that Samsung made a huge mistake by skipping the Galaxy S20e.
Also read: What Android could learn from Apple’s iPhone 12
iPhone 12 Mini versus Galaxy S10e: Similar but different
If you read this quote again in the previous section on Apple’s startup, you will likely find that it doesn’t accurately describe the Galaxy S10e. While the S10e carried many of the same features as the larger Galaxy S10, it was a weaker device in several ways. It had less RAM, no built-in fingerprint sensor, a weaker camera, and a few other downgrades.
However, the iPhone 12 Mini is literally as Apple described it. The only specifications that can’t be carried over to the smaller phone are the battery capacity and the screen resolution. This makes perfect sense as the phone is physically smaller. Everything else is shared equally by both phones.
Connected: iPhone 12 Series Comparison: What Should You Buy?
This was likely Samsung’s big mistake with the Galaxy S10e. Rather than exclusively targeting customers who want a smaller phone without compromise, Samsung tried to reach that potential base while seeking out the budget shopper. That is clearly not Apple’s ambition with the iPhone 12 Mini. Apple knows that there are a lot of people who want smaller phones but not a budget device like an iPhone SE. The Mini offers these customers what they want without having to forego anything else.
Samsung could have gone in that direction with the Galaxy S20e. It could have cemented the (admittedly confusing) “e” branding and worked harder to show why high-end consumers should pay attention to it. Instead, it gave up the line completely and went in the opposite direction, which delivered a gigantic super-premium monster in the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Judging by the alleged sales data for the S20 line, this could have been an incredibly costly mistake for Samsung.
Remember that Apple has it easier than Samsung
We’ll never have the pleasure of seeing a Galaxy S20e. We can imagine that it would have been very similar to the Galaxy S10e, but built from the Galaxy S20 series. It probably would have had a snapdragon 865 but cut off lots of corners in other areas to keep the price down.
However, any description of the theoretical device would only be wishful thinking. Whatever it was, it certainly wouldn’t have been entirely analogous to an iPhone 12 Mini. There are two very important reasons that Apple can make something like the Mini much easier than Samsung.
Connected: How much do the RAM and storage in your phone actually cost?
The first reason is the biggest: Apple makes almost all of the hardware in the iPhone. Because Apple controls the design and manufacture of most iPhone parts, it doesn’t have to spend as much money to get these parts from other companies. This allows him to have more leeway when it comes to keeping prices low and still making a decent profit.
As an example of what I’m talking about, there are rumors that Qualcomm rated the Snapdragon 865 significantly more expensive than the Snapdragon 855. This alone could have been the main reason Samsung opposed a Galaxy S20e. It just wouldn’t have been possible to make a Galaxy S phone with this chipset at a reasonable consumer price. This is a problem that Apple didn’t have as it makes the chips in iPhones.
Connected: Qualcomm 800 Series History
The second reason Apple can make a Mini easier is because the specs of its non-Pro iPhones have historically been weaker than the Galaxy S range. If you think about it, the Galaxy S20 starts at $ 999, and the iPhone 12 Pro – not the iPhone 12 – starts at the same price. In essence, the iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t have to be a smaller version of the Pro, while the Galaxy S20e needs to be a smaller version of the Samsung equivalent.
The bottom line is that Samsung cannot meet Apple’s current standard.
I hate to say it, but Samsung should copy the iPhone 12 Mini
As far as we know, the Galaxy S20 line is not selling well in any way, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra is not finding a wide audience. Meanwhile, some of the most acclaimed phones of the year are small, cheap, or both, like the Google Pixel 4a, the iPhone SE, and the OnePlus Nord.
Connected: Samsung Galaxy S Series: A History of the Biggest Name in Android
Samsung shot at the moon with the first Galaxy S20 series and missed – badly. In a way, Samsung tried to correct this by launching the Galaxy S20 FE to appeal to audiences on a tighter budget. While Samsung fans absolutely love this phone, it is likely to be confusing for the general consumer. What does “FE” mean? Why did it start six months after the other phones? Remember: the general smartphone buyer doesn’t read Android Authority every day, so these are questions you would likely have. The Galaxy S20 FE is also a lot of It’s bigger than the iPhone 12 Mini, so it’s not the right device for little phone fans.
Imagine Samsung made things easier by introducing a new line of products for the Galaxy S30 series. You have a Samsung Galaxy S30 that better matches the specs and price of the Galaxy S20 FE (but with the Snapdragon 875 on board). Next to that, you have a Samsung Galaxy S30 Mini, which is the same phone but smaller. Then you have a Galaxy S30 Plus that is more in line with a Galaxy S20 Ultra, but is a little more compact. Then you have the Galaxy S30 Ultra, which has the same specifications as the S30 Plus, but in a larger case with a few extras.
If Samsung did that, it would hit every consumer. Every single buyer who wants a Galaxy S phone has an option that works for all of them at the same time. All of the phones would be great but slightly different to appeal to different buyers. In the meantime, really budget conscious consumers have cheaper options too. The Galaxy A line does a great job of delivering midrange experiences, and the Galaxy FE line can fill in gaps if needed.
One more thing: remember that Samsung had “mini” phones long before Apple. In a way, this could be seen as a return to form rather than copying Apple. If you go back far enough, Apple is actually copying Samsung.
Want to see Samsung copy the iPhone 12 Mini and bring back a smaller S-series phone? Please vote in the poll above and click on the comments to let us know your thoughts!