The Android smartphone market doesn’t offer compact phones anymore. Samsung doesn’t sell “Mini” Galaxy handsets, either. But Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky and a few other people are leading a “Small Android Phone” petition that might try to revive the compact smartphone through crowdfunding.
The petition earned more than 38,000 signatures, which may or may not be a lot, depending on how you view the situation. But first and foremost, let’s stop a moment and try to define the term “compact.” What does a compact phone mean to the Small Android Phone project?
Well, the project is in the early stages, and nothing – including the phone’s size – is set in stone. However, the team aims for a “sub-6.1-inch” device, and the Asus Zenfone 9 name has been thrown around several times. (via The Verge)
The Zenfone 9 has a 5.9-inch display but is slightly taller and narrower than the Galaxy S23, the latter of which packs a 6.0-inch panel. So, should this Pebble phone (or whatever its final name) even classify as a true compact phone? Many fans of the project seem to think so, even though the term “compact” now feels more confusing than ever.
In any case, the team has developed some concepts of what the phone’s rear panel and cameras might look like.
A not-so-flagship chipset but a focus on details
The to-be-compact smartphone would run Android but wouldn’t aim for the latest and greatest hardware specs. The team says it’s looking at the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 or even an unannounced mid-tier Qualcomm chip as a possible solution for the device.
One of the team leaders, Ben Bryant, seemingly wants to put attention to detail above raw specifications and other such features. Even the price might be higher than usual. Again, nothing is set in stone, but this not-so-compact device could cost around $850, partly because it won’t be manufactured by the millions.
The initial order may be for tens of thousands of units, and the team says they’re “going to pay higher fees upfront to essentially de-risk the project for [the manufacturer].” The team would also wish to get the phone manufactured by the same factories that put together the Zenfone 9.
But even though this sub-6-inch “compact” phone may cost more than equivalents on the market, the team says that “the bet is there’s enough people willing to overpay for a phone.” And the project sure seems to have plenty of fans willing to overpay. Mr. Bryant says that if more than 50,000 people pre-order the phone, that could give him “a healthy budget to probably reduce the cost for everyone.”
All in all, this seems to be a passion project for people who want to bring the “compact” form factor back to the world of Android smartphones. Although, by the sounds of it, the so-called Pebble phone (tentative name) might not be much more compact than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered Galaxy S23 Samsung is selling right now for $799.