First, Samsung trumped Apple's iPhone by releasing larger-screen devices way ahead of the current 4-inch iPhone 5.

Now, the South Korean electronics giant and top handset maker is going back to the future with a smaller version of its flagship device, the Galaxy S III.

Size Matters

In a meeting with the South Korean press on Wednesday, Samsung's mobile department head, JK Shin, said the smaller device, called a mini like Apple's iPod mini, would launch in Europe where, he said, there is a demand for 4-inch devices.

That's eight-tenths of an inch shorter than the Galaxy S III that was launched in May (June in the U.S.). Samsung says it has sold more than 10 million in the first few months. The launch date of the S III mini is Thursday, Oct. 11, the company confirmed to The Verge, saying the phone's features would be the same as its taller sibling.

The U.S. public relations firm that handles press relations for Samsung did not reply in time for publication to our query about whether mini versions of other Samsung devices were planned and whether the Galaxy S III mini would be eventually sold in the important U.S. market.

Increasing use of smartphones for viewing video or playing games has fueled the market for bigger screen sizes, but Samsung seems to be mindful that portability and ease of use for voice calls can't be easily written off, either. The 5.5-inch Galaxy Note "phablet" has been rapped as too hard to hold in one hand, though that consideration hasn't affected sales.

And Apple took its time growing the iPhone's screen, and even then by only three-tenths of an inch, while careful to still keep the device thin and light.

While it seems as though Samsung can't make up its mind about how big its phones and tablets should be, the strategy of trying out different sizes has been in play by manufacturers for years.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

"Vendors other than Apple have always offered multiple screen sizes," said Avi Greengart, a consumer devices analyst at Current Analysis. He cited as an example the HTC One's S, V and X versions. The X is 4.7 inches, the S is 4.3 inches and the V is 3.7 inches.

Samsung's range of screen sizes extends to tablets as well as smartphones. In August it released the game-oriented 5.8-inch Samsung Player device that falls between the 5.5-inch Note and the 7.1-inch model of the Galaxy Tab.

"Many users want a large screen and device, while others want a small screen and device," said technology consultant and commentator Jeff Kagan. "Think of this market in segments. A pie with slices. Every slice wants something different.

"This is another segment Samsung is aiming at. They want to spread their success. This will compete even more directly with the iPhone. Samsung wants to carve out a larger slice of the pie."