One of the reasons Android smartphones are beating the iPhone in terms of units sold is the former’s broader product lineup. Because of this, at least one analyst is convinced that at some point, Apple will have no choice but to launch a so-called iPhone mini, according to Reuters.

Market researcher Strategy Analytics is out with their 2013 smartphone projections. From now until the end of the year, they expect sales of Android devices to jump 35 percent. Apple, meanwhile, should see shipments increase by 33 percent.

In total, Strategy Analytics expects that by year’s end, Android will hold 33 percent of the global smartphone market. Apple’s share is expected to hit 21 percent.

The research company sees no letup in iPhone sales, at least for this year. However, to be successful in emerging markets, an iPhone mini seems inevitable.

As Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston states:

The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year …

… We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 when … Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard about the likelihood of different sized iPhones. Earlier this week, in fact, Topeka Capital Markets said the same. The main reason: Apple wants to penetrate markets such as China and India.

As I indicated previously, during the Tim Cook era, anything is possible. Just look at the release of the iPad mini if you aren’t convinced. However, offering up iPhones in different sizes could be a step too far, especially if they include handsets available in multiple colors as is also rumored.

This doesn’t mean, however, that it won’t happen. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Apple release the so-called iPhone 5S is different sizes sooner rather than later.

Regardless, consumers are loving their smartphones in record numbers. In 2013 alone, the number of new smartphone purchases is expected to jump 27 percent to 875 million. Of those, 290 million will be from Samsung, while Apple is expected to see 180 million iPhones.

Source: Reuters
Photo: Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images