Samsung Unveils Gold Galaxy S4: Apple Envy?

Apple struck gold with its sold-out "champagne"-colored iPhone and Samsung wants in on the action.
iPhone 5c, 5s: 10 Smart Design Choices
iPhone 5c, 5s: 10 Smart Design Choices
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Samsung announced a new variant of its Galaxy S4 smartphone Wednesday. Rather than make it waterproof, or add a point-and-shoot camera to the back, the latest version of the Galaxy S4 comes in a new color: gold.

This marks the first year Apple has offered a shade for its iPhone other than black or white. The "champagne" or gold color, which was tipped as a possibility shortly before the announcement, is not gaudy but instead somewhat refined. It proved to be popular when the iPhone 5s went on sale last week.

The gold iPhone 5 was the first model to sell out at Apple's stores and on Apple's website on Sept. 20. Many stores reported having fewer than 10 gold models on hand for the launch. Those consumers lucky enough to score a gold iPhone 5s have taken to eBay and Craigslist to make good on their luck.

[ Ready for iPhone markup shock? Read $649 iPhone 5s Costs Apple $199. ]

Case in point: One eBay seller managed to win $10,100 from bidders in an auction that ended Tuesday. The price ramped up to $2,500 quickly in the early hours of bidding, but one person bid $10,000 at the last minute, only to be bested by a $10,100 bid just before the auction closed. Apple sells the gold iPhone 5s for $649 to $849, depending on storage.

Apple has asked its suppliers to ramp up production of the gold model by as much as 33% to meet the unexpectedly high demand. The device still shows an October ship date on Apple's website, although exactly when in October it will ship is unclear.

The announcement of a gold Galaxy S4 just two weeks after Apple introduced the gold-colored iPhone 5s is conspicuous at best. Samsung's gold GS4 might seem like a "me-too" move, but it's doubtful the company could have whipped up a gold-colored phone in just two weeks. More likely, the company used its sources to learn about Apple's plans before the announcement and got to work sooner rather than later.

For the moment, the gold model is being offered only in Dubai. There are two versions, gold with brown and gold with pink. There's no word from Samsung on whether it will offer the gold Galaxy S4 in other markets.

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