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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Is In Short Supply

Samsung's mobile chief warned its flashy Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone will be in short supply at launch due to manufacturing difficulties.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: Night At The Museum
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: Night At The Museum
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The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge go on sale Friday, but the Edge may be hard to find. The curved screen on the Edge is giving Samsung trouble and has constrained the supply available at launch.

Even so, Samsung is expecting record sales of its new smartphones.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which Samsung announced in March at the Mobile World Congress trade show, are a radical departure for the company in terms of design and materials. Gone are the cheap-feeling plastics and in their place stand metal and glass. They are a significant step forward for Samsung and are much better competitors to Apple's top-notch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The S6 and S6 Edge are the first true premium handsets made by Samsung.

The S6 Edge stands apart from its stablemate thanks to the curved shape of the screen. It is this curve that's causing the problems, as iFixit discovered earlier this week. Samsung's manufacturing process is seeing yield rates of just 50%. "We're working hard to resolve the difficulty in supply," J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung's mobile business, told the Wall Street Journal. He noted, however, that the supply problem might stick around "for a while."

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have won positive early reviews, and many analysts believe the unique nature of the Edge could drive demand for that over the regular model.

[Read about how more Americans rely on their smartphones for Internet access.]

Higher demand with hindered supply could spell trouble for Samsung, which needs the S6 and S6 Edge to be successful. Samsung said it believes the S6 and S6 Edge will set sales records, though it didn't provide any solid numbers for guidance. Analysts believe the 2013 Galaxy S4 is Samsung's best-selling model to-date, with shipments of approximately 43 million. The GS6 and Edge would have to exceed that number to set records within Samsung.

Apple sold nine million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units during their first weekend of availability and the company went on to sell 72 million iPhones during the holiday quarter.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be available in 20 countries on April 10, including the US. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless all plan to sell the device. Pricing options varies widely by carrier, but the base retail prices are the same: $649 for the 32 GB S6 and $749 for the 32 GB S6 Edge. Prices go up accordingly for the 64 GB and 128 GB models.

The phones have 5.1-inch quad HD screens, 16-megapixel main cameras, 5-megapixel user-facing cameras, octa-core Exynos processors, and 3GB of RAM.

The home buttons include fingerprint sensors, which can be used to secure mobile payments, which the company will launch later this year. The devices will have Samsung's Knox enterprise security software on board, which has been fortified with some components from BlackBerry BES 12.

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Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer