Samsung is about to do what no other smartphone manufacturer has ever done before, at in the US. Before the end of April, Samsung will have the Galaxy S4 available on seven different US carriers as well as seven different retailers.
Samsung’s approach to releasing smartphones over the last few years has evolved at a fairly steady rate. Samsung’s Galaxy line has always been focused on existing on as many networks as possible, no matter what it took. The original Galaxy S was different on every carrier, such that it was impossible for someone to know that they were all Galaxy S phones that were released around the same time.
The Galaxy S2 suffered from the same fate, but the branding slowly started to stick. By the time the Galaxy S3 was ready to be launched, Samsung was finally able to release phones that looked the same on every major US carrier. The Galaxy S4 launch completes that journey, by being available almost everywhere at almost the same time.
Starting at the end of April, the Galaxy S4 will be available on Verizon, ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket, US Cellular, and C Spire. Exact dates will be different for each carrier, starting online only on April 24 with T-Mobile.
On top of the special Samsung shops that we reported will be setup in Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations around the US, Samsung has arranged for the S4 to be available at Costco, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target, and Wal-Mart around the same time. By May, Galaxy S4 advertising will be in all of these retailers and carriers, making it the most prolific US smartphone launch ever.
Samsung’s latest flagship is certainly the 800lb gorilla in the room, and the brand recognition today is enough that producing a superior smartphone tot he Galaxy S4 won’t by itself be enough to matter. Phones like the HTC One or the LG Optimus G Pro may provide a better experience overall, but neither of these phones will be nearly as available as the S4. The only other company prepared to compete with Samsung on this scale is Apple, and thanks to a new deal with T-Mobile they now have what they need to offer their latest on as many networks and retail locations.