Samsung Galaxy S5, Gear Smartwatches Launch Worldwide
Samsung, the company that topples all rivals when it comes to selling smartphones, has officially released its newest flagship device, the Galaxy S5 smartphone, along with three wearables, the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit.
As of April 11, the devices were headed for 125 countries and became available from all major U.S. carriers.
Expect a major sales response, especially from itching-to-upgrade owners of the Galaxy S 4, T-Mobile said in an April 11 statement, announcing that it had teamed with research firm Kelton Group, which surveyed GS4 owners and learned of "pent-up demand."
"The research found a remarkable 89 percent of the millions of Galaxy S 4 owners plan to step up to the Galaxy 5—with over 40 percent planning to make the move within the next three months," said T-Mobile.
When asked why they wanted to upgrade, 30 percent described themselves as Samsung "loyalists," simply wanting the next great Samsung device, while 53 percent were specific about wanting the GS5's new features—which include a heart-rate monitor, an improved camera, a new back cover material, and water and dust resistance.
The Kelton Group additionally found that nearly two out of three GS4 owners are open to switching carriers.
"The only thing holding them back is the fear of early termination fees and other charges," reported T-Mobile, which in January launched "Operation Contract Freedom," an offer to pay the early termination fees—up to $650 per line—for anyone wanting to switch from AT&T, Verizon or Sprint to T-Mobile.
Cue the gleeful rubbing of hands at T-Mobile.
"People like to switch carriers at the same time they switch devices, and the Galaxy S5 is the first major device launch of the year," T-Mobile CMO Mike Sievert said in the statement. "It's jet fuel on an already successful fire."
Verizon Wireless began offering the Galaxy S5 for preorder April 9, in advance of having it in stores April 11. It's offering the phone for $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service contract, as well as through its Edge program, which breaks up the price of the phone into 24 payments; when the phone is 50 percent paid off, users can upgrade to a new device.
AT&T is also selling the GS5 for $199.99 with a two-year agreement, or through its Next plan, sans agreement, for either 20 payments of $25 or 26 payments of $32.50.
At Sprint, people who sign up for a GS5 (for zero down and 24 payments of $27.09) on a Framily Plan will get a Galaxy Tab 3 "for free." It's also offering the phone for $199.99 with a two-year contract.
At T-Mobile, the GS5 is available for 24 payments of $27.50, or users are welcome to buy it outright for $660.
"The refined design and technological innovation of our new Galaxy S 5 and Samsung Gear devices are the direct result of Samsung listening to what consumers wanted in the next generation of mobile technology," Samsung CEO JK Shin said in statement. "We carefully crafted each device to offer a sophisticated, superior mobile experience that lets consumers stay connected in their own way to focus on what really matters to them."
At T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T, the Gear 2 Neo smartwatch and Gear Fit fitness band are priced at $199, while the Gear 2, which includes a camera in the watch face, is $299.
AT&T is offering $50 off the price of a Gear 2 or Gear 2 Neo to those who also purchase a GS5.