Over the past couple of years we have seen a great shift in mobile trends. Having a cell phone as compact as possible is no longer the cool (or practical) thing to have; instead, the goal is to have the largest smartphone possible, oftentimes sneaking into tablet-sized territory in order to one-up the competition.
But while more screen real estate may be a great thing for a lot of people, it's not ideal for everyone. There are still a good number of people out there who prefer a smaller display.
Fortunately for you, manufacturers hear you. They hear your cries of anguish from trying to stretch your hand around the phone or across the screen, and they have created a perfect solution for your giant flagship woes: an exact replica of your favorite flagship, only slightly smaller, only $50 cheaper, and with specs that’ll have you feeling like you're living 2 years in the past. But hey, it has the same name as the flagship with "Mini" tacked on the end, so there's that.
“You're welcome,” they say.
It’s a true wonder why we haven't seen many minis surface this year. No Galaxy S6 Mini and no HTC One M9 Mini, although there has been one unremarkable release of the LG G4c, which follows the exact same pattern that minis have always had: nice concept, spot-on design, and a lot of corner-cutting.
And although this quote doesn't necessarily mean HTC will never create another mini again, HTC’s North Asia president Jack Tong's quote about HTC's general direction may give us some insight as to why there is no HTC One Mini 3 this year:
“Overall the industry is moving towards new phones over 5 inches in size and our product roadmap is close to that of the industry.”
Honestly, it's not like the world is missing out on much. Manufacturers kept deciding to half-bake a product and hope users buy into the fact that at least it looks like the flagship. Who cares what it performs like, it's all about replicating the look and exhibiting brand recognition. And while once upon a time I would have accepted the excuse that a smaller phone can't possibly house nearly the same high-end components that the true flagship touts, I feel like Sony has knocked that excuse out of the park with the Xperia Z Compact series. They even managed to pack in superb battery life, which is something that even some full-sized flagships can't seem to get right.
As for Samsung, another manufacturer that has graciously catered to us ingrates who lack appreciation for vast amounts of screen real estate, a Galaxy S6 mini has also mysteriously not shown up. At this point in the year I don't think we are likely to see one happen, either.
Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for the underrated mini idea, and while I certainly won't miss the minis we were given, I do think that it could have been something if OEMs had put more effort into them. With Sony not really being available in the U.S., a good, solid mini flagship would be an easy way to take advantage of a relatively untapped market here in the U.S. Maybe it wouldn't be successful, but I feel like that's a hard conclusion to come to when you have a slew of underdeveloped devices, and one good one that nobody here can get ahold of easily.
R.I.P. mini smartphones. May your tiny, insignificant souls pave way to something worthwhile in the near future, or so help my tiny cabbage patch handlets.