While the Samsung Galaxy S4 has finally landed in the United States, starting with its arrival on AT&T today, there are still some questions that consumers have about its release, namely, where the 32GB and the 64GB Galaxy S4 models are and whether they will ever be arriving at all.
In March, at its big launch in New York City, Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S4, taking the wraps off its features including a 5-inch display, quad-core processor, Android 4.2 software 13MP camera and more. It also confirmed three variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4 for launch in the form of the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB Galaxy S4 models, same as it did with the Galaxy S3 and same as it did with the Galaxy Note 2.
Read: AT&T Galaxy S4 Arrives Early.
This falls in line with Apple’s iPhone which comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB forms with increasingly expensive price points. Apple charges $199.99 for the iPhone 5 16GB with the 64GB model commanding a $399.99 price. Only, the Galaxy S4 comes with something that the iPhone 5 doesn’t have: Expandable memory.
The Galaxy S4 was introduced with a Samsung staple, the microSD card slot, that allows owners to upgrade their device with up to a 64GB microSD card for expanded storage. microSD cards are cheap and thus, it’s extremely easy for consumers to outfit their device with a ton of extra storage space for things like music, games, movies and more. And with software, app and file sizes increasing by the year, storage is an extremely sought after commodity.
That said, as we inched closer to the device’s debut in the United States, consumers in the United States remain with only bits or in most cases, without any concrete information about the storage options that will be available to them. And right now, both the 32GB and the 64GB Galaxy S4 models remain missing in action in the U.S.
Here now is a breakdown of what we’ve heard so far, and what we predict will happen with the release larger Samsung Galaxy S4 32GB and 64GB models in the U.S.
AT&T Galaxy S4
One of the more prominent questions we’ve seen and heard asked over the past few weeks has been about the 32GB and 64GB Galaxy S4 models and whether they would ever see the light of day in the United States. Of course, had AT&T never confirmed the Galaxy S4 32GB, the questions would be much easier to answer, but because it did, the situation has been extremely confusing to say the least.
Earlier this year, AT&T confirmed the Galaxy S4 arrival for $250 on-contract, a price that seemed to be for the 16GB model. A short time later, the carrier backtracked and claimed that that price was for a 32GB model and not a 16GB Galaxy S4.
Oddly enough, when the Galaxy S4 pre-order began, only the 16GB Galaxy S4 emerged as an option, leaving consumers looking for a larger model scratching their head.
AT&T recently told Gotta Be Mobile that it has no specific information about the 32GB Galaxy S4′s arrival and the only clue we have right now is in the fine print on its Galaxy S4 landing page which states that the device will be “coming soon.”
So far, we’ve heard nothing about a 64GB model and considering that AT&T declined to offer one with the Galaxy S3, we imagine that it may not ever arrive on Ma Bell’s network.
Sprint Galaxy S4
Those looking for a 32GB or a 64GB Galaxy S4 on Sprint might have noticed that neither device popped up in its announcements and like AT&T’s pre-order, Sprint’s was only for the 16GB option.
Sprint has so far refused comment in regards to any plans for a 32GB or 64GB Galaxy S4 and unfortunately, there are no leaks and exactly zero clues that point to any kind of impending launch.
One saving grace is that Sprint offered a 32GB Galaxy S3, but that’s no guarantee that it will trudge out a Galaxy S4 32GB at a later date. The carrier did not offer a 64GB Galaxy S3 and we don’t expect it to with the Galaxy S4.
T-Mobile Galaxy S4
The T-Mobile Galaxy S4 launch has been far from normal and unfortunately, when it comes to the potential release of larger storage options, utterly uninformative.
So far, the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 launch has been marred by delays which have taken it from an April 24th release online to an April 29th release online and from a May 1st in-store release date to May 8th and May 15th in-store release dates. While it has been diligent about relaying that information, it has holding another card close to its chest.
That card of course are its Galaxy S4 storage options. Thus far, we’ve only seen it say that it will charge $149.99 down. We imagine that this price is for the 16GB model but the carrier really hasn’t been forthright with that information, confusing its customers. It also hasn’t confirmed or denied 32GB or 64GB models leaving the launches wide open.
Again, the Galaxy S3 32GB arrived on T-Mobile while the 64GB option did not so it’s possible that a 32GB model could come at a later date. If that’s the case, T-Mobile isn’t saying.
U.S. Cellular Galaxy S4
U.S. Cellular will be the first U.S. carrier to offer the Galaxy S4 for sale, to non-pre-orderers. Its release will come on April 26th online ahead of an in-store release date on April 30th. So far, U.S. Cellular has only announced a 16GB model and if it has 32GB and 64GB Galaxy S4 devices planned for later, it isn’t saying.
Again, U.S. Cellular released the 32GB Galaxy S3 last year so it could be that we see a 32GB model come later in the year. A 64GB model seems unlikely at this point given the lack of information and track record.
Verizon Galaxy S4
And finally, the Verizon Galaxy S4. We heard from numerous potential Galaxy S4 buyers who were hoping they could pair the nation’s largest 4G LTE network with a Galaxy S4 rocking 128GB of storage (64GB + 64GB microSD card). As of right now, those dreams seem to have been dashed as the carrier is only taking pre-orders for a $250 16GB model.
That doesn’t mean that Verizon won’t offer a 32GB option or even a 64GB option, but given the carrier’s history, we highly doubt that those options will come to light.
Verizon actually discontinued its 32GB Galaxy S3 several months ago, a sign that consumers weren’t biting on the larger option. And because of that, 32GB and 64GB variants are doubtful.
While it would be odd to see AT&T become the only carrier to offer a 32GB Galaxy S4, it’s certainly possible that that is what will end up happening. It’s also entirely possible that AT&T decides to can the 32GB model before ever offering it, we can’t be sure.
We can only go off what we see and know at this point and that is that carriers don’t seem to think that 32GB and 64GB models are necessary with 64GB microSD card support.
We saw them all opt to carry only the 16GB Galaxy Note 2 when 32GB and 64GB options were available and Verizon’s EOL status on the 32GB Galaxy S3 is a sign that offering the 16GB may actually have been a logical choice.
So given the signs, given the past, and given that the Galaxy S4 is about to launch with 16GB options and only 16GB options, customers who are looking for the larger models in the U.S. should temper expectations as we may never see a wide launch of these models here in the U.S.