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Apple’s latest bid to reverse Android’s soaring popularity is being cooked up.

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The iPhone Mini, at a tasty $200 pricetag could be hitting the shelves very soon, and shows how big a threat the eponymous Android devices have now become for Apple.

According to a Bloomberg report, the device won’t require a contract, paving the way for carriers to offer subsidies that could make the phone free for subscribers under a contract.   

And Steve Jobs’ brainchild is also looking to become more flexible in terms of carrier –  a new concept for the powerhouse whose previous iPhone releases carried a hefty pricetag of up to $900 for customers wanting to purchase the device outright.  

And the Smartphone makers are also toying with the idea of built-in SIM cards that would allow users alternate between carriers via software settings.    

This is also clearly aimed to be another gash in Google Android’s side –  which is available on a range of devices including LG, Samsung and HTC and on multiple carriers including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone here in Australia.

The phone which is said to be about one third the size of a regular iPhone, previously dubbed the “iPhone Nano,” although few even within Apple are aware the project, according to one insider.    

 

Earlier this week, Smartphone makers Samsung and HTC celebrated massive sales growth of their devices, both of which run on Android.

The two brands recorded an almost 700 percent jump in popularity – placing them in the top five Smartphone brands in the world, joining Apple, Blackberry makers RIIM and Nokia.

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