U.S. wireless carriers today announced off-contract prices ranging from $650 to $685 for the new 32 GB Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone and $100 to $129 more in premium pricing for its stylish cousin, the Edge, with both coming to buyers on April 10.
April 10 is also the day the new HTC One M9 goes on sale -- for $649 unlocked -- and when pre-orders begin for the Apple Watch.
Both Samsung phones feature 5.1-in. displays and all-metal and glass cases, unlike the plastic case used in the Galaxy S5. However, there will be no removable battery or microSD slot as before.
The Edge has a distinctive glass surface that wraps partly around both side edges, resulting in a premium price that is 19% more for the Edge than the nearly identical Galaxy S6 on both AT&T and T-Mobile. In several other countries, the price differential for the Edge ranges from 11% to 30% more than the Galaxy S6 with equivalent storage.
AT&T announced on its website a monthly payment plan for the base 32 GB Galaxy S6 of $22.84, which totals $548.16 over 24 months with a Next 24 installment plan. The Edge, as expected, will cost about $104 more: $27.17 per month, or $652.08 over 24 months.
AT&T also offer an off-contract (or "commitment") price of $685 for the base Galaxy S6, and $814 for the Edge, a spokeswoman said. With a conventional two-year contract, AT&T will charge $200 for the Galaxy S6 and $299 for the Edge.
T-Mobile's price for the Galaxy S6 will be slightly less, starting at $680 with monthly payments of $28.33 over 24 months, the carrier said, with the Edge priced at $780.
Sprint also said it will offer 24-month leasing plans for the two phones, starting at $20 a month for the base Galaxy S6, in addition to an $80 per month Unlimited Plus service plan.
Sprint's prepaid carrier, Boost Mobile, will offer the Galaxy S6 with 32 GB for $650 off contract, $30 below the T-Mobile price.
Some analysts have said the higher price for the Edge smartphone is a way for Samsung to market a stylish device that will attract premium buyers for its looks as much as its functionality. Part of the increase could go to pay for the curved and strengthened glass edges. However, analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates said the higher price is not that relevant when Samsung is looking to provide a "halo" product that users will buy, partly to be seen by others when in use.
Given the $10,000 starting price for the Apple Watch Edition with an 18-carat gold case, the strategy of reaching to high-end buyers makes sense, analysts said.