While StraightTalk is currently preparing to rollout Verizon-powered BYOD service, the carrier has not slowed down handset launches, as the carrier is preparing to launch a CDMA version of the year-old Samsung Galaxy S III.
An image of the Walmart price tags has surfaced confirming that the handset will be launched for $439.99 through Walmart retail stores, though further information such as the release timeframe and which network will be powering the phone have yet to be confirmed.
With the forthcoming launch of the Galaxy S III, this would make it StraightTalk’s first high-end Android smartphone, as its current Android smartphone lineup has been dominated by low-end and mid-range Android smartphones since 2011 when the first smartphones were sourced from Sprint inventory, then switched to Verizon inventory in 2012 with a new deal signed by Tracfone.
StraightTalk’s first high-end Android phone was to be the Optimus G2X before it was quietly canceled in March 2011 after a late Winter advertising blitz due to last minute disagreements with T-Mobile over support.
Currently, Sprint, Verizon and MetroPCS carry CDMA/LTE versions of the Galaxy S III, which leaves the possibility that the phone could be powered by either Verizon or Sprint and may even dovetail with the CDMA BYOD rollout, as previously reported. The model number may also be a clue to which network will power the phone, as the Verizon-powered Samsung Galaxy S Showcase was released with the S950C model number as a Walmart retailer exclusive and never sold online through StraightTalk’s site.
That the phone is also being sold for $440 also demonstrates the deeper than average subsidy being applied to the phone in a bid to drive new sales, as the phone is only a year old and the Galaxy S IV is ramping up for launch later this Spring and effectively replaces the Galaxy S III in all carrier lineups.
This also leaves it open for prepaid services in Tracfone’s lineup to carry it directly as well as other prepaid brands, which are currently carrying and supporting the 2 year old Galaxy S II which are also being updated to Jelly Bean thanks to Samsung, save for the AT&T-powered StraightTalk version, which was pulled from most markets as a result of the falling out between AT&T and Tracfone earlier this year.
Compared to the current iPhone offering, the Samsung Galaxy S III is also less expensive, if only by $20, as the iPhone lineup starts at $450 for the iPhone 4 and goes up from there, though it remains to be seen how the customer response will fare for the Galaxy S III as StraightTalk has carried other Galaxy variants and met with mixed reviews and success. The Galaxy S III might be the one Android smartphone that changes the perception of Android smartphones on prepaid as underpowered and underutilized devices.