Samsung has officially announced two new smartphones to expand its Galaxy range. The Galaxy Ace 2 and the Galaxy Mini 2 are both designed to be entry-level devices and were announced shortly before this week’s Mobile World Congress currently being held in Barcelona.

The two new smartphones are follow-ups to the Galaxy Ace and the Galaxy Mini and are, according to the Korean manufacturer, pitched at smartphone users who have “active lifestyles” and want stylish handsets that don’t compromise on “performance or affordability”.

The Galaxy Ace 2 will have an 800MHz dual-core processor with a display of 3.8 inches with a pixel resolution of 480 x 800. It will have a 5 megapixel camera on the back of the device with a 720p video camera. On the front is a VGA camera for voice calls. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has 4GB of internal storage and 768 MB of RAM. There is a micro SD slot to increase storage to 32 GB.

Details about the Galaxy Mini 2 leaked earlier this year. The official specs have now been confirmed. The device will run with an 800 MHz processor like the Ace 2. Its screen is 3.27 inches and has a pixel resolution of 320 x 480. The Mini 2 also runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and has a 3 megapixel camera on the back. It has 4 GB of internal storage, 512 MB of RAM and like the Ace 2 has a micro SD slot to increase storage capacity. Both devices have Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC capability.

The smartphones are both part of Samsung’s strategy to increase its share of the market even further by offering devices for every price point. These are mid-range smartphones and while there is no announcement or confirmation in terms of price on either yet, it is likely they will be much more affordable than higher end devices like the Galaxy S2.

It isn’t just the Korean manufacturer who is expanding into this market. The mid-range smartphone is seen as a real growth area for all manufacturers; particularly those powered by Android, and other companies such as HTC and Motorola have also benefitted enormously through this strategy.

The trend is being driven by consumers. Looking for a cheaper option, many are turning to mid-range and low-end smartphones. Consumers want the power but not the price tag as they upgrade from featurephones to Internet enabled handsets. Android is more affordable than even the cheapest iPhones, which many believe it what has driven Android’s growth in the smartphone market over the past twelve months. While devices like the Samsung Galaxy S2 steal the headlines, what consumers are looking for is something they can use to check their email, use social networks has a passable camera and decent storage that won’t cost them the earth.

In the UK mobile market this trend has hit PC vendors. This month sales figures revealed there has been a 20% drop in the PC market. This suggests consumers are seeing their technology as another way they can tighten their belts. If manufacturers want to grow and get a piece of the smartphone action, then offering these entry-level or budget mobile phone deals that can extend their brand and fit with what the consumer wants is the way forward.

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 will be available in the UK from April and Galaxy Mini 2 will launch in France first in March before launching to the rest of the world at a later date.


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