Samsung are launching two variations of Samsung Galaxy S6- normal and the curved version. Despite the high price tag for the curved phone, carriers are still finding it hard to get it as Samsung continue to have yield problems for the display of the curved version.
According to a source at one of Samsung’s mobile carrier partners in Europe who spoke to Ars Technica under the condition of anonymity, Samsung is launching both the curved and normal Galaxy S6 at rather exorbitant price points. Our source, who has seen Samsung’s new devices in person, tells us that the mid-level 64GB curved Galaxy S6 will cost carriers €949 ($1,076), with the top-end 128GB model priced at €1,049 ($1,189)—around €50 more expensive than the comparable iPhone 6 Plus. Furthermore, the same source tells us that carriers are struggling to get their hands on enough stock of the curved Galaxy S6, suggesting that Samsung is having yield issues for the curved display.
Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S6 at Mobile World Congress next week. In line with the rumors that we’ve heard previously, our source says there will be two versions of the S6—a normal version that will look fairly similar to the S5 and a curved version that will have a curved edge on both the left and right sides of the device. In both cases, the devices are priced at the very high end, above the iPhone. For the non-curved Galaxy S6, European pricing is €749 ($849), €849 ($963), and €949 ($1,076) for the 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models respectively. For the curved version, add €100 ($124) to each of those figures. These are the prices that will be paid by the carrier before any subsidies. Presumably unlocked, SIM-free devices will be be similarly priced.
US pricing is more complex than simply converting euros into dollars, but €849 for the entry-level curved Galaxy S6 is way, way above the launch price of the Galaxy S5, which was around €650 in Europe and $650 in the US.
Our source gave us one other interesting tidbit about the Galaxy S6: Stocks of the curved S6 appear to be constrained by supply due to manufacturing issues caused by the curved display. This isn’t unusual when it comes to the first commercial outing for a new technology—but in this case it’s awkward because Samsung’s marketing push will focus almost entirely on the curved version. Our source says that only one third of the S6 devices being shipped by Samsung have a curved screen, which could be a problem if that’s the version that’s being marketed and which everyone wants to buy.
While Samsung’s low yield on curved displays may be an issue initially, it’s something that could be ironed out before it actually impacts consumers. The pricing of both the normal and curved versions of the Galaxy S6, however—if carriers pass the price hike onto consumers—could be problematic unless the hardware is truly sensational. Samsung is expected to unveil the Galaxy S6 at an Unpacked event in Barcelona on Sunday—and Ars Technica will be there to (hopefully) get some hands-on impressions of Samsung’s new devices.