You've got no shortage of options for carriers if you want a Galaxy S4 Mini in the United States. Verizon and Sprint have already released the phone, and now prospective US Cellular customers are getting a crack at it. The carrier posted the phone to its online store today with neither pomp nor circumstance. You can pick it up for $49.99 on a two-year contract or a whopping $499.99 without.
The "Mini" portion of Samsung's lineup is squarely aimed at the budget market. It's strange, then, to see two new phones that are (at least in some respects) a generation apart launch on the same carrier on the same day. Verizon has done just that: the Galaxy S III Mini is now available starting at $49.99 ($249.99 without a contract) and the Galaxy S4 Mini is $99.99 (a full $399.99 contract-free).
Sprint wants everyone to know about its tri-band LTE network that could potentially reach speeds of 50 - 60 Mbps, so it gave it a catchy name - Sprint Spark. Once the rollout is complete, this could be the largest LTE network in the US in terms of spectrum usage. But that's the future. Right now, the network is available in only a handful of cities (Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Tampa), and even fewer phones are currently set to tap into it (okay, just one).
Sprint is getting some significant updates to its smartphone lineup today: two high-end phones from LG and two mid-range phones from Samsung, in a variety of sizes from petite to freakin' huge, man. The Nexus 5 and G2 from LG, as well as the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega (6.3) from Samsung, are all available on the online store now. They should be in most retail stores soon (with a possible exception in the midwest and southeast), though the Nexus 5 will probably be scarce as usual.
The Galaxy S4 is a neat phone, but man is it ever big. If a 5-inch device simply won't fit in your life, consider the Galaxy S4 Mini. This svelte device is headed to the US next month and it will be sold by AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular. The carriers should announce availability shortly, but no pricing is available yet.
The GS4 Mini retains the visual style of the Galaxy S4, but the specs have been reduced a bit.
After dropping the Xperia Z1 for T-Mobile on us this morning, @evleaks has revealed another upcoming Android handset headed to a US carrier near you; namely, the Galaxy S4 Mini for Verizon.
Samsung Galaxy S 4 mini, carrier unknown pic.twitter.com/nS4qipy2No
— @evleaks (@evleaks) October 11, 2013
Now, I'm not entirely sure we can be 100% positive this is for Verizon, but oh wait, the home button has a not at all conspicuous Verizon logo!
Here's the inside scoop - people love Samsung Galaxy devices. So if you're a carrier looking to pick up more customers, you're going to want to offer them more Galaxy devices. And what's one thing that's sure to catch the average consumers eye? It's not specs, nor is it build quality. It's color. Enter the pink Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini on AT&T, the latest leak shared by @evleaks.
Okay, okay, there are many reasons not to be interested in this story, and I'm going to acknowledge these right off the bat. The Galaxy S4 Mini is not exactly a new device anymore, and it wasn't nearly as powerful as the flagship device it's based on even when it was. Likewise, people aren't likely to turn to Sprint in search of a speedy network connection. In a way, the device and the carrier are a match made in heaven.
The CyanogenMod team has already granted official ROM support for the LTE version of Samsung's diminutive Galaxy S4 Mini, and now the international 3G variant gets a chance. The first build for the S4 Mini 3G was posted to Get.CM on Friday night, but if you're waiting for a bleeding-edge build, you're going to be disappointed. It's CyanogenMod 10.1, based on Android 4.2, which is what the S4 Mini runs under TouchWiz.
Update 2: Samsung has clarified the issue to Android Central, and it turns out it's actually not all that bad. Here's the gist: if you buy a Galaxy Note 3 (or other region-locked Samsung phone), it must be activated with a SIM in its home region. That means you can't import a Note 3 from Taiwan and then activate it in Europe, for example, and if you try to do that, it will lock itself.