Americans counting the days until the release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 may have to wait even longer as not only have several U.S. carriers begun reporting release date delays on Samsung's 2013 flagship smartphone, but the Korean company has also announced that its initial release will see limited availability due to “overwhelming demand.”
The Galaxy S4 was set to release in the U.S. this week on several carriers. While its release on AT&T appears to be running smoothly, with early pre-order customers expected to begin receiving their smartphones on Thursday, and its in-store launch still set for Saturday, other carriers have begun reporting delays, largely due to shipping and inventory issues.
T-Mobile intended to launch its Galaxy S4 online this Wednesday and in stores next Wednesday. Instead the now contract-free carrier announced Wednesday that it will begin offering the device online on Monday. Further reports indicate that T-Mobile has pushed its in-store release of the Galaxy S4 to May 8. Having cited “an unexpected delay with inventory deliveries,” T-Mobile confirmed the release date change on Twitter in response to an inquiry about the phone, stating that select stores will receive the Galaxy S4 on May 8, while nationwide availability will begin on May 15.
Sprint has similarly delayed its Saturday in-store launch of the Galaxy S4 due to “unexpected inventory challenges from Samsung.” The carrier still expects to begin offering the phone online and by phone on Saturday, likely because online customers will still have to wait due to processing and shipping time.
Samsung has now also spoken out about the issue, telling Bloomberg that demand for the Galaxy S4 greatly exceeded expectations, and several countries will see limited supplies, not only the U.S. While it remains unknown how many Galaxy S4 handsets were shipped for its initial launch, Samsung is expected to ship 10 million in the coming month.
“We expect to fulfill inventory to meet demands in the coming weeks,” Samsung said in an official statement.
Meanwhile, Verizon began accepting pre-orders for its Galaxy S4 Thursday and is set to release the smartphone on May 30. While many Verizon customers gripe that the carrier tends to release its devices well after other carriers, the network may actually be on to a good strategy in intentionally deferring its launch. Verizon will likely not be affected by any of this inventory hullaballoo that other carriers are currently experiencing.
While we wait for the Galaxy S4 to arrive stateside, many note that HTC may benefit from Samsung’s delay. Even though the Taiwanese manufacturer faced delays with its own 2013 flagship device, the HTC One, due to problems with its camera, the smartphone still managed to release well ahead of the Galaxy S4. Having shipped 300,000 HTC One handsets in March and an additional 1.2 million in April, the HTC One is available at a number of U.S. carriers and retailers and is also available unlocked and in a developer’s edition.
Hopefully this “demand” Samsung is talking about will help the Galaxy S4 catch up quickly once it is finally released. Until then, we wait.