The Verizon Galaxy S4 launch has been one of the more lengthy, more confusing launches in recent memory but thankfully, the saga will be coming to a close in the near future. In just a few days, Verizon will finally release the Samsung Galaxy S4 into the wild, joining the four other major carriers that have had the device on shelves for weeks. Despite arriving soon, there are still some holes in Verizon’s story.
All the way back in March, Samsung announced the new Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that comes equipped with some big time hardware and software including a 5-inch 1080p display, quad-core processor, 13MP camera, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and of course, a number of useful Samsung software features that have come along with the new version of the company’s TouchWiz.
From a specification standpoint, the Galaxy S4 is one of the top Android devices on the market and one of the best overall smartphones that money can buy. It’s also helped along by the fact that it’s available on all five of the largest carriers in the United States who wasted no time announcing the phone shortly after the conclusion of its launch event.
And while AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular have all released the device to consumers, the Verizon Galaxy S4, the device that’s heading to the nation’s largest 4G LTE network, still is unreleased.
The story of the Verizon Galaxy S4, as expected, has been a confusing one. The device went up for pre-order through a number of different outlets before a release date was announced. Verizon decided to announce a May 30th release date, long after the other carriers. And more recently, the carrier decided to move the release date up from May 30th to May 23rd for unspecified reasons.
All in all, it has been a confusing launch not only for those that have pre-ordered through Verizon or someplace else, but for those that have been thinking about buying a Verizon Galaxy S4 in the near future.
The change in date has thrown some things in disarray though with consumers, particularly those who ordered through a third-party retailer, wondering how the change might affect their prospects. Others are wondering about things like 32GB models and locked bootloaders.
Here, we take an in-depth look at the Verizon Galaxy S4 release in an attempt to answer those questions.
Verizon Galaxy S4 Release Date is May 23rd at Verizon
Verizon decided to bump up the Samsung Galaxy S4 release date from May 30th to May 23rd. And while it’s still arriving much later than the other carriers, this is still good news for those that have already ordered and for those that are planning to waltz into a store and buy one.
The carrier has confirmed that the device will be available both online and in-stores on May 23rd which means that those who want to go hands on with it first before buying can do so in just a few days.
Pre-Orders Could Arrive Early
Those who have pre-ordered the device through Verizon will almost certainly be getting their device around May 23rd. Yes, Verizon’s website still says that it will be shipping out “by May 30th” but the key word in there is “by.” That means that that’s the latest that it will ship out which of course means that it will likely be arriving much sooner.
Perhaps even sooner than May 23rd for some of those who pre-ordered. As we’ve seen with previous smartphone launches, and in particular, the AT&T Galaxy S4′s, it’s possible that some Verizon Galaxy S4 pre-orderers will see their device arrive a day or two ahead of its official release date.
That’s not confirmed and we won’t know for sure until Verizon sends out shipping information but we wouldn’t be surprised.
Release Dates at Other Retailers
The Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 is currently available for pre-order through a number of different outlets. In particular, RadioShack, Walmart, Best Buy and Staples. We reached out to figure out just how the release date change is going to affect those companies and unfortunately, the details are extremely limited.
Staples, thus far, is the only retailer to confirm that it’s shifting dates confirming to Gotta Be Mobile that its new release date is May 23rd. Best Buy, for its part, told us that “Best Buy’s launch timing is in line with the carriers so consumers can get the latest and greatest phones at all 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores the same day the new handsets are available at carrier stores.” Whether that means that it will get pre-orders out by Verizon’s new date is not clear at this point.
Neither Walmart nor RadioShack has responded to the shift in dates though we imagine that they will likely follow Staples’ lead.
No Hope for 32GB Model, At The Moment
As it stands, there will only be a 16GB Verizon Galaxy S4 available at launch. And thus far, there are no signs of Verizon budging from it originally told us, that it does not have plans to offer a 32GB model.
With storage space being exposed as a commodity on the Galaxy S4 thanks to storage being eaten up right off the bat and the microSD card being useless, it’s possible that Verizon could be tempted to offer a larger model down the road.
Right now though, there is simply no indication that Verizon or any carrier other than AT&T will offer a 32GB Galaxy S4.
Expect a Locked Bootloader
While still not confirmed, we fully expect that the Verizon Galaxy S4 will come with a locked bootloader which of course means that users won’t be able to install custom software.
Luckily, there is a potential unlock method that is waiting in the wings and it could potentially be released on day one. So those that are thinking about installing custom software right off the bat need to temper expectations and hope that the method that apparently works for AT&T’s model will work for Verizon’s as well.