The Samsung Galaxy S3 has become the most successful Android phone of 2012 as well as the most pre-ordered gadget in history, but for many people it is simply too large to comfortably use as a phone. Recognising this, Samsung has hinted that a smaller version of its current Android flagship phone will be launched later this week.

A Samsung press invite for a product launch to be held in Germany on Thursday states, "Prepare for something small to make a big entrance." While it does not explicitly mention a Galaxy S3 Mini, the tagline as well as a large "S" in the background of the press invite strongly suggests that the S3 Mini is what Samsung has up its sleeves.

Mark from Best Mobile Contracts has said, "While the Galaxy S3 has been one of the biggest selling phones for the past few months, many people have no doubt been hesitant to purchase the phone due to its size."

So what exactly would a mini Galaxy S3 entail? For starters, the word "Mini" may be a bit misleading. All rumours are pointing towards a 4 inch Super AMOLED HD screen which would make the new handset similarly sized to the iPhone 5 – which is by no means a "mini" phone in the traditional sense. While the S3 Mini may have a fairly similar width to the iPhone 5, it is also likely to be wider and not employ the 16:9 screen aspect ratio of the Apple phone.

As a mini version of the S3 the phone can be expected to have a lot in common with its bigger brother, including a similar appearance and many of the leading software features that were introduced by Samsung earlier in the year. This includes Social Tag, Buddy Photo Share, S Beam NFC sharing, and the 8 shot burst mode for the camera.

But while it will have many similarities many hardware specifications will be turned down a notch. The camera itself will be demoted from 8 megapixels to 5 megapixels, while it is thought that the processor will be dual core and clocked at a slightly slower speed.

The S3 is only just being updated to Android Jelly Bean in many markets and so it is uncertain if the Mini will come with Jelly Bean or the older Ice Cream Sandwich. Either way, the S3 Mini will have many software features that almost guarantee the presence of NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, and perhaps even LTE.

Google is due to launch Android Key Lime Pie at some point in the coming months, and while there has been much talk of the LG Optimus G being the new Nexus phone, Google is also reportedly working with several manufacturers to release a range of new Nexus devices. Considering that Samsung has produced the last two Nexus phones it is not implausible that they will team up with Google again this year. But the chances of the Galaxy S3 Mini being one of the Key Lime Pie launch devices are fairly slim. For one thing, there is no "Nexus" in its name. Secondly, Samsung's next rumoured Nexus phone is thought to be the Galaxy Nexus 2.

The upcoming launch event is not for the Galaxy Nexus 2 as this features no "S" in its name, and the only other alternative is the Galaxy S4. All reliable indicators suggest that the S4 will not be launched until well after Mobile World Congress 2013 however, and so the only phone which seems to fit the bill is the S3 Mini.

Being a similar size to the iPhone 5 this could be seen as an attempt by Samsung to win over many of the disgruntled customers who have experienced problems with the new Apple phone, as it will come in a similar size and offer a comparable level of features. Although the launch event is to be held this week on October 11th, a release date for the as yet unnamed device is unknown.