When Samsung’s Galaxy S20 launched with 5G on every device in the family, the situation was confusing. Technically, the Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra can work with every type of 5G network available. However, the smallest and least expensive Galaxy S20 can only use one of the two versions of 5G available — the low-band iteration.
If you subscribe to T-Mobile, this is no problem. because the magenta carrier uses that same version of 5G. It’s slower but has solid range and reliability. AT&T uses both the low-band
Verizon, which uses only mmWave technology for
The device went on sale this week, and it came with a couple of unwelcome surprises. Although it wasn’t mentioned previously, the new Verizon Galaxy S20 UW has less RAM than the other Galaxy S20 phones. It also lacks the expandable memory microSD card slot. Those are curious omissions.
When asked for a comment on those changes, Samsung told me “The Galaxy S20
The amount of
The only real-world difference Samsung notes is the number of apps users can pin to launch instantly. “Galaxy S20
An SD card slot is missing from the Samsung Galaxy S20
It could be that the mmWave antennae needed the extra space, so the SDcard had to go, When asked, Samsung’s PR told me that “from a design standpoint, [the] Galaxy S20
Expandable storage has become a bragging point instead of a commonly used feature. Plenty of buyers will be impressed by the “expandable to 1 terabyte of storage” footnote, but few will ever expand the phone’s storage beyond what it ships with. Hardcore users who transfer large files may miss this feature, but those folks probably don’t want the ‘low-end’ Galaxy S20 anyway.
Carriers like to cut deals and make special offers to customers, but the first sale is between Samsung and Verizon, not Verizon and you.
Still, it stings, doesn’t it? The Galaxy S20 is the pinnacle of mobile hardware and the flagship device family for the country’s
So why does Verizon’s new Galaxy S20 arrive slightly hobbled?
The real answer is in the cost. Verizon’s mmWave Galaxy S20 has a suggested retail price of $1,000, the same as the T-Mobile version of the phone without mmWave, and the same as the unlocked version of the phone. Qualcomm’s chips are expensive and adding support for the more advanced mmWave network add extra silicon that doesn’t come free.
Carriers like to cut deals and make special offers to customers, but the first sale is between Samsung and Verizon, not Verizon and you. In the wireless industry, the real customer for phone makers is the network carrier, not the user.
Verizon likely saw the unit cost of the Galaxy S20 UW and balked. The margins on smartphones are already thin, and Verizon has a whole new network to build. Samsung needed to come down in price. Ditching some
If there was any doubt wireless carriers still have ultimate control over the mobile phone market in the United States, let it be put to rest. After wrestling with Apple for years to finally bring the iPhone to The Network, Verizon has never offered another manufacturer such independence. Samsung is the largest phone maker in the world, but Verizon was still able to send its product teams back to the drawing board to create an entirely new SKU just to save itself a few bucks.
Disclosure: Philip Berne worked for Samsung as a Product Review and Crisis Communications Lead from 2011 to 2017.
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