Samsung on Thursday said that its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge will be available April 10 in the U.S. with the major carriers taking preorders on Friday. After a brief evaluation period, I'm willing to bet that the Galaxy S6 pair will do well.
Going into Samsung's announcement, the big questions were the pricing difference between the S6 and the Edge version and how many units would be shipped. Carriers are announcing pricing separately, but the premium applied to the Edge will be critical to overall sales.
Update: Carrier pricing is starting to emerge. At T-Mobile, the S6 Edge carries a $100 premium on the 32GB model. That differential will probably point to higher S6 Edge sales. T-Mobile's pricing breaks down like this:
Samsung Galaxy S 6 (32 GB) $0 down + $28.33/mo x 24, Total: $679.92 (64GB) $99.99 down + $27.50/mo x 24, Total $759.99, and (128GB) $199.99 down + $27.50/mo x 24, Total $859.99; Samsung Galaxy S 6 edge (32 GB) $0 down + $32.49/mo x 24, Total $779.76 (64GB) $99.99 down + $31.66/mo x 24, Total $859.83, and (128GB) $199.99 down + $31.66/mo x 24, Total $959.83.
AT&T said its pricing starts at $22.84 per month on AT&T Next 24 for the Galaxy S 6 with 32GB and $27.17 on AT&T Next 24 for the Galaxy S 6 edge with 32GB.
Sprint is using the Galaxy S6 launch to be more promotional. For a limited time, Sprint is offering the 32GB Galaxy S6 for free for those who sign up with the Sprint Unlimited Plus plan for $80 a month. The 64GB Galaxy S will be $5 more a month and the 128GB S6 will be $10 more. The Edge will start at $5 a month with a 24-month lease and with the Unlimited Plus Plan run $85 a month.
Given the less than 24 hours I've had with both versions of the Galaxy S6, the following things stick out:
Here's a walkthrough of the Edge screen settings. For now, the Edge screen real estate equates to a glorified alarm clock and notification bar.
And now for the big picture. While Samsung's smartphone is critical to the company's hopes to compete better with Apple's iPhone 6, analysts are expecting the Galaxy S6 to create a halo effect of sorts for the company that extends from the consumer market to the supply chain to the enterprise.
Also: Samsung's Galaxy S6: How it was designed | Samsung Galaxy S6 first look: The productivity edition | Apple tipped to open Android trade-in program ahead of Galaxy S6 launch
Keep in mind that the Galaxy S6 uses Samsung screens and processors. In other words, Galaxy S6 sales are likely to be a boon for Samsung's other divisions.
U.S. adoption would also go a long way toward solving Samsung's squeeze in the commodity phone market because it would raise overall pricing for the portfolio.
For instance, Hyundai Research analyst Young Park said the Galaxy S6 will boost profits for Samsung's mobile unit. Meanwhile, Samsung Securities analyst MS Hwang is projecting 25 million Galaxy S6 units will ship in the first half with Edge sales trending up. Because of those Edge sales, Hwang said that handset operating margins should increase to 12.2 percent from 9 percent.
Jefferies analyst Sundeep Bajikar also argued that the Galaxy S6 could boost memory prices, which would also benefit Samsung. Bajikar is also betting that lower-end smartphone players will consolidate and benefit both Apple and Samsung.
Bajikar said that Samsung should be able to benefit as its installed base upgrades to the Galaxy S6. In the end, all Samsung has to do is get the installed base of Galaxy smartphone users to upgrade en masse. Samsung's Galaxy S6 is likely to do the trick.