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theriddler

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 6, 2011
110
42
UK

FAQ​

Who are you?​

My name is Eric Migicovsky. Ages ago I started the first smartwatch company (Pebble), sold it to Fitbit, then spent 4 years as a partner at Y Combinator. Now I'm building Beeper - a universal chat app that lets you chat on 15+ different chat networks (including WhatsApp, iMessage, etc). But I'm a gadget guy at heart!

Isn't it crazy to start a phone company??​

Yes, yes it is. I really hope it does not come to that. My hope is that we can gather support from the community and convince Google (ideally) or another Android manufacturer to build this phone.

I have a very specific set of skills and industry connections that I have acquired over a long career in the hardware business. I will put them to use in our shared quest to get the perfect small Android phone. If no one else ends up building one, and enough people sign up...maybe I will be forced to make it myself.
 
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ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
Looks like he basically wanted an Android version of the iPhone mini. But since he would need to get off-the-shelves components, he will be facing the same wall other Android companies are facing.

How's the Battery life? Even Apple couldn't magically make battery life good (ie. 12 mini). 13 mini fares better, but that's Apple having full control of the OS and SoC tuning. Snapdragon flagship SoCs have worse and worse performance per watt for anything higher than the Snapdragon 870. This is why Android phones are sporting 4500-5000mAh batteries. The whole set of components are just less efficient. Add on the OS that keeps more stuff running in the background, it will be a huge challenge. You cannot cheat physics. And no, going stock Android is not any better as many Android OEMs actually had to put more aggressive power management over stock Android to achieve good battery life.

And what's the actual demand? There's literally hardly any Android phones released in 2022 that is smaller than 6.4". Maybe the Galaxy S22. That's about it. Xiaomi just released their cheapest $100 phone in my country, the Redmi 10A, and that's already 6.53". People in general still think larger is better, and smaller means it has to be cheaper. Look at how many people here claiming that the 13 mini is overpriced. And there's a reason why larger phones are taking over. Going back to the previous point, battery life. To have better battery life, you have to have a larger battery. Also, more and more people use their smartphone as their do-everything device, including gaming and general entertainment. Larger screen thus is much more desirable.

I think going 5.4" might alienate many consumers. 6.1", aka the S22 size, might be able to entice more people while still being compact enough. TBH, after owning the S21 for a while, I do wish for a small-ish phone, so I really wish him the best. But I doubt he would go anywhere as the market has spoken.

Seriously, no Android phones released in 2022 that is smaller than 6.4" other than the Galaxy S22. Last year, there were some, but really nothing this year. Even Huawei pushed its P50 to 6.5" (from 6.1" of the P40). If the Chinese OEMs are not even interested (and they do throw everything on the wall to see what sticks), maybe the market is just too small.
 

Tig Bitties

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2012
5,355
5,480
My son has the Pixel 5, and compared to my Pixel 6 Pro it's a massive size difference, the P5 feels like a little toy, but in a cool and good way. It's so easy to one hand, and just pick up and go. When I play with his phone, it's so light and just so comfortable to use. But I do prefer large screens for media and easier to see full web pages. But if your on the go, and just need a smartphone for calls and texting and quick web searches, etc... the Pixel 5 really is nice.

Google should offer that size again in the Pixel 7, should have a 6", a 6.4" and a 6.8" three sizes for you to choose.

I also like the more rounded shape of the Pixel 5, compared to the rectangular sharper edged Pixel 6 line.
 

TechRunner

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2016
1,306
2,246
SW Florida, US
Looks like he basically wanted an Android version of the iPhone mini. But since he would need to get off-the-shelves components, he will be facing the same wall other Android companies are facing.

How's the Battery life? Even Apple couldn't magically make battery life good (ie. 12 mini). 13 mini fares better, but that's Apple having full control of the OS and SoC tuning. Snapdragon flagship SoCs have worse and worse performance per watt for anything higher than the Snapdragon 870. This is why Android phones are sporting 4500-5000mAh batteries. The whole set of components are just less efficient. Add on the OS that keeps more stuff running in the background, it will be a huge challenge. You cannot cheat physics. And no, going stock Android is not any better as many Android OEMs actually had to put more aggressive power management over stock Android to achieve good battery life.

And what's the actual demand? There's literally hardly any Android phones released in 2022 that is smaller than 6.4". Maybe the Galaxy S22. That's about it. Xiaomi just released their cheapest $100 phone in my country, the Redmi 10A, and that's already 6.53". People in general still think larger is better, and smaller means it has to be cheaper. Look at how many people here claiming that the 13 mini is overpriced. And there's a reason why larger phones are taking over. Going back to the previous point, battery life. To have better battery life, you have to have a larger battery. Also, more and more people use their smartphone as their do-everything device, including gaming and general entertainment. Larger screen thus is much more desirable.

I think going 5.4" might alienate many consumers. 6.1", aka the S22 size, might be able to entice more people while still being compact enough. TBH, after owning the S21 for a while, I do wish for a small-ish phone, so I really wish him the best. But I doubt he would go anywhere as the market has spoken.

Seriously, no Android phones released in 2022 that is smaller than 6.4" other than the Galaxy S22. Last year, there were some, but really nothing this year. Even Huawei pushed its P50 to 6.5" (from 6.1" of the P40). If the Chinese OEMs are not even interested (and they do throw everything on the wall to see what sticks), maybe the market is just too small.
As an Android-first guy, I'd love to see an iPhone 13 Mini-sized Android phone, but all the points you make are valid, and the reason why it will probably not happen anytime soon. If only Samsung made an S-series mini to go along with their standard and ultra sizes...
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
As an Android-first guy, I'd love to see an iPhone 13 Mini-sized Android phone, but all the points you make are valid, and the reason why it will probably not happen anytime soon. If only Samsung made an S-series mini to go along with their standard and ultra sizes...
Believe me, I used to be the go big or go home guys, but after going from the large A71 to the S21, I start to appreciate smaller phones again.

I really do wish him the best, but at the same time I cannot deny what the market wanted.

My next goal would be upgrading my iPhone 7+ to the iPhone 13 mini once its price drops later this year.
 
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Vegastouch

macrumors 603
Jul 12, 2008
6,145
952
Las Vegas, NV
The 4a isnt a big phone and why i got it. The screen is a 5.8" but the overall size of it is smaller than the Galaxy s9 i traded in.
The days of saying the iPhone 3 is the perfect size are over lol
 

turbineseaplane

macrumors P6
Mar 19, 2008
15,399
33,516
This would be great to see

As someone who's a devout SE1 user (been trying a 13 mini and not at all enjoying it due to size), I would really welcome some new smaller options.

It seems to me like we are at the point where phones really can't get any bigger or they will legitimately be like carrying around nearly an iPad mini.

i.e. all these companies are running out of the usual trick of just making the screen bigger, shrinking bezels a bit and adding a better camera.
 

Zorori

macrumors regular
Nov 26, 2017
246
325
Sony did release the 5.5” Ace III this year. Spotted one in Nojima and was surprised to see a small Android phone.

No idea why Sony don’t release it worldwide. They keep trying to compete with Samsung, etc and getting basically 0 sales. You’d think instead of constantly failing to make ground, they’d at leatst try and go for a niche market instead.
 
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ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
Sony did release the 5.5” Ace III this year. Spotted one in Nojima and was surprised to see a small Android phone.

No idea why Sony don’t release it worldwide. They keep trying to compete with Samsung, etc and getting basically 0 sales. You’d think instead of constantly failing to make ground, they’d at leatst try and go for a niche market instead.
It's the challenge when you have a commodity product, aka Android. The Chinese has made Android smartphone into inexpensive commodities that the older brands like Sony, HTC, Nokia, LG, etc just couldn't compete anymore. Sony pulled out their smartphone business from many markets, and it's not until recently that their business is finally in the black. Sony is focussing in markets where their brand can still carry some clout.

The Ace III, sporting a snapdragon 480, will be butchered in the open market with devices from Poco and Realme that offers larger screens and better spec for probably much less. Unlike iPhone where you cannot compare specs easily to competitors due to Apple is making the chips themselves, consumers can easily compare one Android phone's spec to another, and for the price, the Chinese will always win this commodity price war.

It might also signal what the general market wants. It would be hard to convince general consumer that a small phone is "better" than a larger phone. It's like trying to convince people that a smaller TV is better than a larger TV. People will always gravitate towards the larger one. Even Apple is facing the same problem. There are only a handful of Android phones released in 2022 that can be considered compact enough (Galaxy S22, Pixel 6a). The rest are at least 6.4" and up.
 

Zorori

macrumors regular
Nov 26, 2017
246
325
But, you miss the point -- Sony have like 0.1% of global sales. Why? Because they only compete in the very same general market as Samsung and all those Chinese brands.

Those brands do not have a 5.5" device, so the shoddy processor, etc isn't a factor. Are you part of the ~1% of the market that want a small device? Get an iPhone Mini or the Ace -- that's the user's choice; however, one of those choices isn't even available to most of the world. And thus the iPhone Mini outperformed the entire of Sony's line.
 

HandsomeDanNZ

macrumors 65816
Jan 29, 2008
1,187
1,468
Auckland NZ
As a Kickstarter backer that got burnt by Pebble, reading
Ages ago I started the first smartwatch company (Pebble), sold it to Fitbit, then spent 4 years as a partner at Y Combinator.
is annoying.

He oversold and underdelivered on the Pebble Time 2 and the other products he had touted as "coming soon" then Fitbit bought some IP and a few bits they wanted while the rest of the company went bust.
I wouldn't back this guy in a truck.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
But, you miss the point -- Sony have like 0.1% of global sales. Why? Because they only compete in the very same general market as Samsung and all those Chinese brands.

Those brands do not have a 5.5" device, so the shoddy processor, etc isn't a factor. Are you part of the ~1% of the market that want a small device? Get an iPhone Mini or the Ace -- that's the user's choice; however, one of those choices isn't even available to most of the world. And thus the iPhone Mini outperformed the entire of Sony's line.
I was perusing Sony Japan website, and it seems the Ace III is basically a "carrier" phone there, so it could mean that Sony made it at the request of carriers to be a cheap device targeting new smartphone users who are transitioning from traditional keitai and not used to the typical large screen phones.

So no, I don't see Sony is competing in the same market as Samsung. Sony is carving its own niche with it's high end production focused Xperia phones. And it seems to be working as they're finally in the black. They really have to pick and choose carefully where to go with this niche market strategy. Apple can do it globally as they have the money to setup shop, logistics, repair centers, etc. Sony doesn't have that luxury.
 

vladi

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2010
971
584
I was perusing Sony Japan website, and it seems the Ace III is basically a "carrier" phone there, so it could mean that Sony made it at the request of carriers to be a cheap device targeting new smartphone users who are transitioning from traditional keitai and not used to the typical large screen phones.

So no, I don't see Sony is competing in the same market as Samsung. Sony is carving its own niche with it's high end production focused Xperia phones. And it seems to be working as they're finally in the black. They really have to pick and choose carefully where to go with this niche market strategy. Apple can do it globally as they have the money to setup shop, logistics, repair centers, etc. Sony doesn't have that luxury.

ACE is made by winning bid Chinese ODM for Sony Electronics. Low end device that replaced L line which was also made by Chinese ODM.

Anyway what this Pebble guys wants is unfeasible right now. Putting the flagship Snapdragon in such a small footprint is a disaster as the heat would kill everything from display to battery over time. What's even worse he wants to cram in even more features in such small body. He wasn't precise about body aspect ratio but I would assume he is referring to something like 18:9 or 19:9 for the display at the most and since he is wants the punch hole he is obviously means "bezeless" display which in practice means the display with curved sides that go tight fit to phone's frame which is again not doable.

Apple was the only manufacturer who could pull off something like this because they do custom design in pretty much everything except modem and battery stuff. And even their attempt has failed at being commercial success. Just like Sony's compact line or Samsung 10e. And the reason being is the market that doesn't want small but expensive phones. I would kill for a small 9 keypad flagship as well but no one wants that besides me just like how no one wanted qwerty Blackberries not matter if it's actually doable to type without even looking due to muscle memory.

What Pebble guys wants is the plug and play phone made out of existing components that cannot be fit in such a tight space anyway. This phone would require some masterful engineering and production that would not be sustainable at the price he wants unless he plans to move close to five million units annually or even more. And that is not doable.

Fun fact: Apple has probably spent more R&D on Mini than it did on regular iPhone. It's an engineering marvel.
 
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ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
ACE is made by winning bid Chinese ODM for Sony Electronics. Low end device that replaced L line which was also made by Chinese ODM.

Anyway what this Pebble guys wants is unfeasible right now. Putting the flagship Snapdragon in such a small footprint is a disaster as the heat would kill everything from display to battery over time. What's even worse he wants to cram in even more features in such small body. He wasn't precise about body aspect ratio but I would assume he is referring to something like 18:9 or 19:9 for the display at the most and since he is wants the punch hole he is obviously means "bezeless" display which in practice means the display with curved sides that go tight fit to phone's frame which is again not doable.

Apple was the only manufacturer who could pull off something like this because they do custom design in pretty much everything except modem and battery stuff. And even their attempt has failed at being commercial success. Just like Sony's compact line or Samsung 10e. And the reason being is the market that doesn't want small but expensive phones. I would kill for a small 9 keypad flagship as well but no one wants that besides me just like how no one wanted qwerty Blackberries not matter if it's actually doable to type without even looking due to muscle memory.

What Pebble guys wants is the plug and play phone made out of existing components that cannot be fit in such a tight space anyway. This phone would require some masterful engineering and production that would not be sustainable at the price he wants unless he plans to move close to five million units annually or even more. And that is not doable.

Fun fact: Apple has probably spent more R&D on Mini than it did on regular iPhone. It's an engineering marvel.
Agree. As much as me or you or others who want a smaller phone, the reality is that the majority of the market has spoken. Not only small and expensive, the market doesn’t even want a small and cheap phone. The market simply wants as large of screen as their budget allows. Even sub $200 phones from the Chinese are now sporting at least 6.5” screen.
 
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