Last week, Samsung took the stage in New York City and announced a Samsung Galaxy S device in the United States for the first time. And while many thought that the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch in the U.S. would mean that the many mysteries that often accompany U.S.smartphone launches, at least those not called iPhone, consumers in the U.S. hoping to snag this phone are still left with tons of holes when it comes to the Galaxy S4 U.S. release.
On March 14th, after months of rumor, leaks, speculation, opinion and more, Samsung finally unveiled its latest and greatest smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that is set to replace the record-setting Samsung Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship smartphone.
The event, which took place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, represented the first time that Samsung had announced a Samsung Galaxy S device in the United States. Previous launches had occurred in the likes of London and Barcelona, Spain. Samsung’s shift to an announcement in the United States was a very public sign of how important the U.S. market is to the success of Samsung’s smartphones. Only, the event repeated the same mistakes of previous ones.
At the Galaxy S4 launch, Samsung took a deep hour long dive into many of the details regarding the Samsung Galaxy S4 itself. We saw Broadway actors, an orchestra and a kid named Jeremy Maxwell showcase the Samsung Galaxy S4′s 5-inch display, its quad-core processor, its 13MP camera, its smart software, its new camera features, and more. Samsung even let tons of people get up close and personal with the device well before its actual release date, something that doesn’t always happen.
We even saw AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon all confirm the device. Samsung was on an absolute roll, that is, until the day came and went, and others did too, without three absolutely crucial pieces of information, a reminder that while the event took place in the U.S. and may have appeared to be a success, the event was a total wash. The reason?
It didn’t solve three of the biggest Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. release mysteries despite it likely costing millions of dollars.
Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. Release Date
Last year, Samsung, in a very Apple-esque move, stepped away from announcing its Galaxy S smartphone at trade shows like the Mobile World Congress. Instead, the company has launched its own brand of events called Unpacked. Like Apple’s events, Samsung uses the stage to sell the consumer on its brand new smartphone.
And while Samsung did a fairly good job, it lacked the killer punch of Apple events, which of course are the concrete release dates that Apple always offers at its iPhone 5 launches.
Samsung had the attention, the sales figures of the Galaxy S3 in the U.S. and elsewhere, the proven marketing campaign, and yet it still failed to announce a specific release date for the Galaxy S4, instead opting to say that it would be coming in late April.
As we have found out, that’s true. The United Kingdom, which got the Galaxy S3 about a month after it launched, will be seeing the device arrive on April 25th. Other than that date we have nothing but rumors that suggest Italy and India will get it in early May, while the U.S. is stuck looking at a more gloomy rumored May or June release date.
Of course, this is likely the fault of the carriers who seem to have the upper hand in terms of the flow of information. Nonetheless, it’s a frustrating prospect for future American Galaxy S4 owners because watching a smartphone launch in mid-March should not mean waiting until late May or even June for the arrival of a smartphone. Something needs to change.
So far there are no specific rumored dates for any of the carriers which means that U.S. consumers get to wait in the dark once again.
Galaxy S4 U.S. Pricing
We know that the U.S. carriers are over the moon about offering the Samsung Galaxy S4. We know because they all relayed information about their specific models. However, in addition to shortchanging U.S. consumers on a release date, they also opted not to announce any sort of pricing for their Galaxy S4 models.
Again, this is something that Apple announces at its events and it’s something that consumers all around the world can appreciate. Smartphones are not cheap and they cost quite a bit of money over time. So if you’re going to announce a big name smartphone on stage, with hundreds of thousands of people watching, you’d better let consumers know how much it’s going to cost.
Samsung and the carriers failed to do that and instead, we’ll have to wait two months before they release their official pricing for the smartphone.
Galaxy S4 U.S. Storage Options
At the show, Samsung announced that the Galaxy S4 would be coming in three storage variants, a 16GB model, a 32GB model, and a 64GB model. However, what neither it, nor the carriers announced, was what storage options would be going where.
Last year, we saw some carriers offer the 16GB and 32GB Galaxy S3 models while some only offered the 16GB. No carrier in the U.S. offered the larger 64GB model likely due to its microSD card support. But instead of finding that out at the launch event, consumers didn’t find that out until much later in the game.
The same thing has occurred with the Galaxy S4 launch. Will U.S. carriers be carrying the 16GB model only? Both it and 32GB model? What about a 64GB model for those that need that amount of storage? There are, believe it or not, people out there that easily fill up 64GB on a phone. They’d like to know this information.
Of course, buyers won’t know for sure until Samsung announces the phone. That’s not a big deal for some people, but for others making plans to buy a new smartphone, it is.
So while Samsung decided to launch the Galaxy S smartphone in the United States for the first time in the form of the Galaxy S4, it still was no better than any previous Galaxy S launch for U.S. customers and Samsung, despite making strides to catch Apple, still can’t, despite all of the showmanship, compare to its launch events.
I’ll take release dates, pricing and storage options over Broadway, orchestras and strange child actors any day of the week.