In just a few days, the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch date will arrive as Samsung is slated to unveil a new product at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. And with the event taking place in New York City, many potential Galaxy S4 users in the United States are hopeful that Samsung will spill the beans in regards to the U.S. version of the Galaxy S4.
Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S3 launch took place at a similar Unpacked event inn London, United Kingdom. The venue was large, much like the Radio City Music Hall is, and it proved to be a superb spot for a large launch like the Galaxy S3’s. It was also instrumental in the release date of the Samsung Galaxy S3 in the UK.
The event took place in early May and Samsung announced that the Galaxy S3 would be heading to the UK later in the month, while regions like the United States and Japan would have to wait until June for the Galaxy S3 release date. Ultimately, the UK wound up getting the Galaxy S3 on May 29th while customers in the United States had to wait until late June and early July for Samsung’s flagship.
This is why there has been so much attention given to the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S4 event is set to take place in the United States. The United States typically is late to devices made outside of the country and Samsung, and other manufacturers like HTC, have tried to bump the U.S. release dates of their devices closer to the actual launch events.
So the fact that the event is taking place in New York City also means that there is a good chance that unlike past years, Samsung could not only spill more U.S. release details than ever before, but it could possibly release the Galaxy S4 in the U.S. either first, or at the same time as other regions like Europe.
Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. Release Predictions
To say that the prospect of the Galaxy S4 is exciting is an understatement. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been one of the most heavily rumored, highly anticipated devices in recent memory and it’s possible that it will be the biggest Android launch in the history of the platform.
U.S. consumers are genuinely excited about is high-end hardware, and unique software, but they are also wondering when the Samsung Galaxy S4 might touch down.
With Samsung Galaxy S4 release rumors swirling it’s time to make some predictions about the Galaxy S4’s U.S. release.
Five Launch Carriers
Last year, both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 successfully launched on the five largest carriers in the United States. That list includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon.
That type of a launch was vital towards the devices success in the United States and likely contributed heavily to the record-breaking sales figures of both devices.
So far, we’ve only see the Galaxy S4 emerge in rumors for the networks of AT&T and Verizon. However, that doesn’t mean that the other three won’t release the Galaxy S4. In fact, it’s highly probable that all five carriers will be on board for the Galaxy S4 launch.
Keep in mind, all of these carriers utilized the Galaxy S2 as well so it would be extremely surprising to see them miss out on the most anticipated Galaxy S smartphone yet.
The device will likely arrive on pre-paid carriers like MetroPCS, but don’t expect those variants to be available at launch.
Staggered Release Dates
While we expect releases on the five largest carriers in the United States, we don’t expect them all to release the Samsung Galaxy S4 all at one time. Instead, look for them to take their usual staggered approach and release the devices on different dates.
With the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 and other Android devices, American carriers have released their phones on different dates. Part of the reasons is so that their releases aren’t overshadowed, but it’s also likely due to other devices that they previously have released or ones that are in the pipeline.
In other words, AT&T may launch the Galaxy S4 a bit later so it gives the HTC One a bit more time on shelves without the competition. We saw an example of this last year when Verizon introduced the LG Intuition, a Galaxy Note competitor and a device that probably was one of the reasons Verizon released its Galaxy Note 2 so long after the other carriers.
Current rumors suggest a release date in the United States in either May or June and we expect that the United States at the latest will get it in May and that’s what we expect as well.
May Release Date, At The Latest
Rumors have been swirling about an iPhone 5S launch taking place this summer rather than in the fall like the two previous models. And while it may seem a bit strange, it could be Apple’s way of attempting to bite heavily into sales of the Galaxy S4.
Last year, the Galaxy S3 was released in June, long after the October release of the iPhone 4S, and well before the release of the iPhone 5 which arrived in September. This left the device unopposed for an extended period of time and it allowed Samsung to not only sell millions upon millions of devices. By launching early, Apple may be trying to lessen the release gap between the two phones.
Whether it’s true or not, there is pressure on Samsung to deliver early in the United States. Both from a business standpoint with Apple and from a customer standpoint as well.
That said, given that the event is in the U.S., the timing of previous Galaxy launches and releases, and the prospects of an earlier iPhone launch, look for Samsung to get the Galaxy S4 out to U.S. customers within two months which would mean a release in April or May.
Familiar Pricing, For Most Variants
There have not been any rumors in regards to the pricing of the Samsung Galaxy S4 but that’s not really a problem as we don’t expect Samsung to change things up much from its past launches.
The going, on-contract rate for a high-end smartphone with 16GB’s of storage these days is $199.99. It’s what the Galaxy S3 arrived for and it’s what the iPhone 5, a Galaxy S4 competitor, is currently priced at.
So, expect a 16GB model to arrive for $199.99 on-contract through every carrier but T-Mobile which will more than likely be offering the device without subsidized pricing.
If Samsung does bring a 32GB model to the U.S. again, look for it to undercut the iPhone 5 with a $250 price tag instead of keeping pace with the iPhone 5’s $299.99 price point.
64GB Left Out, Again
The Samsung Galaxy S3 was announced with three storage options, a 16GB model, 32GB model and a 64GB model. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was introduced with the two other storage options as well. However, in the U.S., the Galaxy S3 only came in 16GB and 32GB flavors while carriers opted to only carry the 16GB Galaxy Note 2.
A big reason for this was because of the inclusion of a microSD slot for expanded storage. With a microSD card slot, customers could buy the 16GB model and expand to 48GB very cheaply making the larger options a much more difficult sell, especially in this economy.
While app sizes are increasing, so reliance on the cloud for storage which means that while 32GB is nice, many users won’t need that much internal storage.
Same goes for the 64GB storage option. While it will likely be announced at the event, we’d be surprised to see American carriers opt for the largest storage variant and instead, at the most, only offer the 16GB and 32GB models.
Annoying Verizon Branding
Should the Samsung Galaxy S4 come to Verizon, expect the carrier to give it its usual, annoying treatment as far as branding is concerned. The carrier is known for slapping its logos all over devices and the two best examples are the BlackBerry Z10, which features a prominent and ugly Verizon logo on the front and the Galaxy Note 2 which has the Verizon logo plastered on the home button.
A Verizon logo on the Galaxy S4 home button, it’s rumored to have one, is a distinct possibly at this point but at the very least, Verizon will somehow find a way to muck up the design with its branding. Count on it.
T-Mobile 4G LTE
Finally, while this is a bit of a given, those looking to buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 will more than likely be looking at a smartphone equipped with 4G LTE data speeds.
At the time of the T-Mobile Galaxy S3 release, the carrier did not have an LTE network. Now, the carrier does have a 4G LTE network, replacing its old HSPA+ 42 network.
However, unlike the Galaxy Note 2, which will run on the carrier’s new LTE network after a software update, T-Mobile’s current Galaxy S3 won’t ever run on LTE. Instead, the carrier will release an LTE Galaxy S3 in the future.
Like the HTC One, the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 will almost certainly be LTE capable meaning users will have access to both LTE data speeds and HSPA+ 42 data speeds as well. Look for T-Mobile to play this up as other carriers don’t offer this type of support.
No Crippling Supply Shortages
Those that were interested in the Samsung Galaxy S3 before launch will remember that a defect with the pebble blue Galaxy S3’s coloring led to delays in the United States and elsewhere. Don’t expect this to happen again.
Not only has Samsung likely learned its lesson, but it’s rumored to be shifting to more traditional black and white color options of the Samsung Galaxy S4. This should help ease any stress that manufacturers might have had with the unique coloring.
Additionally, Samsung, in the build up to the Galaxy S4 launch has been touting its plastic designs, with one executive saying that it has been a reason why it has been able to sell millions without enduring crippling supply issues.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is rumored to be plastic as well and that should help to keep the Samsung Galaxy S4 in stock at retailers and carriers in the United States.