Samsung Epic smartphone sales date coming soon

Sprint is holding off the Epic's release to build up inventory amid global touchscreen display shortage

The Samsung Epic, an Android 2.1 smartphone with a physical slideout keyboard that will run on Sprint's WiMax 4G network, could ship by Aug. 21, based on various reports citing unnamed sources.

Aside from the date of sale, however, many customers might wonder how long the device can remain in stock, given a shortage of displays affecting a number of devices, including the first 4G phone from Sprint, the HTC Evo 4G .

Sprint wouldn't confirm any shipping date or price for the Epic today, but a spokesman said more details will be revealed by the end of this week, which tends to support that a release date is fairly imminent. Many analysts predict a $200 price for the Epic, which is in line with the cost of the Evo after rebate and with a two-year Sprint contract.

Epic would be the first phone in the Galaxy S class of phones from Samsung with faster 4G capabilities and a slide-out keyboard.

Sprint unveiled the device in late June as its second 4G smartphone after the HTC Evo 4G running on Sprint's 4G and 3G networks. Sprint has wrestled with keeping up with Evo stock for its customers, owing to a global shortage of touchscreen displays, Sprint officials said recently and again in interviews today.

"There's just a huge global parts shortage, with screens mainly," said Matt Carter, president of 4G at Sprint in an interview. The Evo, with a 4.3-inch screen, is sold out online through Sprint, although customers are advised on the Sprint Web site to check Sprint stores for availability.

Carter and a Sprint spokesman, Joe Mandacina, said that lessons learned by Sprint, Best Buy and Radio Shack about keeping the Evo in stock and anticipating customer demand should help prevent serious supply shortages for the Epic. They also confirmed reports that Samsung was likely to have more of the AMOLED displays for its Galaxy S phones (including the 4-inch Epic). Samsung is holding on to those screens, which are supposed to be faster, brighter and less reflective, for its own use rather than selling them to HTC or other phone makers.

In late July, HTC said it would turn to Sony for Super LCD displays instead of Samsung's AMOLED displays, citing a shortage.

"I can't speak to Samsung supply issues, but with the forecast we provided [them], there's not been pushback, there's not been any [Epic supply] concern on their part," Carter said.

Carter said Epic will sell to both consumers and business users. He wouldn't say, however, that it would outsell the Evo, which also has a touchscreen but no physical keyboard. "It's hard to say Epic will be a better seller [than Evo] since both are compelling," he said.

"It's just preference" that will matter, Carter said. BlackBerry users who are considering a change, for example, are usually interested in having a physical keyboard instead of a touchscreen only, Carter said. "Both phones are equally compelling for office workers or others. Some people don't like a touchscreen, like me. I find my fingers are too big."

Regarding the Evo supply shortage, Carter said that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse is "constantly on the phone, every day, with the president of HTC to say, 'give me more.' We just exceeded our wildest expectations with that phone. HTC has been surprised by the [high] number we asked for and we've blown through that."

Carter said Sprint is putting the Evos in stores as soon as the carrier gets them, and predicted the shortage will ease soon. "HTC has factories running around the clock, so we're hopeful to start seeing some normalization around this [shortage] over the next few weeks or so," Carter said.

Epic was expected by many bloggers to have gone on sale this week, possibly even today, but delaying the release has apparently been part of Sprint's tactic to build up a stockpile of the smartphones. "Supply is part of the decision about the launch," Mandacina said. "Why launch and have frustrated customers? So we'll wait to build an inventory."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobilesmartphonessoftwareapplicationstelecommunicationPhonesconsumer electronicsMobile operating systemsMobile and WirelessMobile OSes

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?