The Samsung Galaxy A series coming to the US is bigger deal than you may think

Samsung Galaxy A70 reflective glass back

Opinion post by
C. Scott Brown

Last week, Samsung announced that the newest phones in the Samsung Galaxy A series would be making their way to the United States. The six phones coming to the US — including two 5G-capable devices — range in price from a little over $100 up to $600 at the very top, and most of them offer all the basic features the average smartphone user needs and wants.

Unlike Samsung’s star phone line — this year’s Galaxy S20 series — the launch of the Galaxy A series was very quiet, with just a simple press release. You probably won’t see nearly as many marketing dollars from Samsung to promote the Galaxy A series as you would the Galaxy S or Galaxy Note series, either.

This is unfortunate because the Samsung Galaxy A series landing in the US is so much more exciting than anything about the Galaxy S20 series. Samsung’s Galaxy S line is pretty predictable at this point, with each new iteration bringing more power, more cameras, more premium materials — and larger price tags. The 2020 Galaxy A series, on the other hand, is the kind of product line from Samsung that the US hasn’t seen from the brand in quite a while.

In the Samsung Galaxy A series, instead of four-digit pricing we’re seeing incredibly low pricing without skimping out on the necessities that make up a good smartphone experience. We’re seeing interesting designs and a renewed focus on only the things that people need in a smartphone without any of the premium filler that makes the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines so expensive.

Those of you reading this who don’t live in the US likely already know what I’m talking about. The Galaxy A line has been doing incredibly well around the world, with three Galaxy A devices on the list of the top-ten best-selling smartphones globally in 2019. Here in the US, though, Samsung has barely even acknowledged the mid-range and budget markets, which is why the Samsung Galaxy A line coming here is a much bigger deal than US citizens might think.

Samsung Galaxy A: Everything you need, nothing you don’t

2020 U.S. Samsung Galaxy A Series PortfolioSamsung

Source: Samsung

Here in the US, there are ostensibly two options for smartphone buyers: iPhones and premium Samsung flagships. Sure, there are other brands and product lines available, but general US consumers have always gravitated to one of those two categories. With that being the case, Samsung hasn’t needed to try nearly as hard to entice buyers in the US as it has needed to do in countries such as India, where there are so many more options.

Related: The top five phones in North America in 2019 were all iPhones

Well, the Samsung Galaxy S line isn’t doing so hot right now. Arguments could be made that it’s because of the high pricing or simply due to people seeing no need to upgrade their phones, but the rumors are that the Galaxy S20 line isn’t selling well at all, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

When you combine the sluggish sales of the Galaxy S line here in the US with the overwhelming success of the Samsung Galaxy A line throughout the rest of the world, it’s easy to see what needs to be done. Now, with the Galaxy A line on the way, we’re going to finally see what Samsung can do with the mid-range market of the United States.

If you aren’t yet familiar with the recent crop of Galaxy A smartphones, take a look at the specs/pricing table below to see what’s on the way to the US:

  Galaxy A01 Galaxy A11 Galaxy A21 Galaxy A51 Galaxy A51 5G Galaxy A71 5G
Display 5.7-inch TFT
1,560 x 720
Infinity-V
6.4-inch TFT
1,560 x 720
Infinity-O
6.5-inch OLED
HD+
Infinity-O
6.5-inch OLED
2,400 x 1,080
Infinity-O
6.5-inch OLED
2,400 x 1,080
Infinity-O
6.7-inch OLED
2,400 x 1,080
Infinity-O
ROM 16GB 32GB 32GB 128GB 128GB 128GB
RAM 2GB 2GB 3GB 4GB 6GB 6GB
Battery 3,000mAh
7.75W
4,000mAh
15W
4,000mAh
15W
4,000mAh
15W
4,500mAh
15W
4,500mAh
25W
Rear Cameras 13MP
2MP
13MP
5MP
2MP
16MP
8MP
2MP
2MP
48MP
12MP
5MP
5MP
48MP
12MP
5MP
5MP
64MP
12MP
5MP
5MP
Front Camera 5MP 8MP 13MP 32MP 32MP 32MP
Fingerprint None Rear Rear In-Display In-Display In-Display
Connection 4G 4G 4G 4G 5G 5G
Price $109.99 $179.99 $249.99 $399.99 $499.99 $599.99
Available April 9 Summer Summer April 9 Summer Summer

What I see on that table are smartphones that offer everything someone needs and none of the frills they don’t. No fancy radar systems, no second displays, no foldable parts. Just the basic smartphone stuff you need in 2020, which includes huge batteries, great cameras, plenty of storage, and a decent amount of RAM.

While the Galaxy A series has technically been around since 2014, the mid-rangers felt like an afterthought and lagged well behind their flagship counterparts. That all changed throughout 2019 with the rollout of the dual-digit Galaxy AXX line. With all bases covered from very low-end all the way up to affordable flagships like the Galaxy A90 5G, it seemed clear that Samsung was finally taking the sub-flagship market seriously.

Once again, people who live in Europe, India, and other places that aren’t in North America are probably yawning — these phones have been around for 12 months now, they’re old news. Here in the US though, the idea of buying a Samsung smartphone that isn’t either a super-expensive flagship or a bottom-of-the-barrel budget phone has been a pipe dream for years. With the Samsung Galaxy A series heading to the States, that’s going to change.

Samsung is realizing not everyone in the US is made of money

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra rear left profile

Before the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, I wrote an article asking a simple question: is Samsung’s plan for asking consumers to spend even more on smartphones really the best strategy? Obviously, no one could have predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic was right around the corner, but there are lots of people here in the US right now who can’t (or simply won’t) pay $1,400 for a smartphone.

Samsung, unfortunately, tends to look to Apple for its US strategy, though. Apple has steadily increased its phone prices over the years, too, and is still doing exceptionally well in the US market. Naturally, Samsung likely thought that matching Apple on price was the best way to go.

Apple is still doing well here in the States, but not as well as it once was. Even it finally got around to launching a new budget-oriented iPhone SE last week to help people who can’t afford an iPhone 11 Pro Max get an Apple smartphone.

Luckily for Samsung, it doesn’t need to do much at all to be successful in the mid-range market. It’s already created all the devices in the Samsung Galaxy A series and proven they are market leaders around the world. The only thing it hasn’t done is bring them here.

It’s likely Samsung didn’t want to flood the market or confuse US buyers with too many smartphone lines. That may have worked in the past, but not anymore. Now, Samsung is finally realizing that not everyone in the US is made of cash and there are plenty of people here who would love to buy a quality Samsung phone for less than $600.

Don’t ever doubt the Samsung brand name

The Samsung logo.

Some people reading this might argue that people are already buying other mid-range devices in the US. The Google Pixel 3a, Motorola Moto G7, and many different Nokia phones are all strong sellers. If those devices already have the US mid-range market, why will the Samsung Galaxy A series succeed?

The simple answer is because Samsung is Samsung.

The average US smartphone consumer knows Samsung and Apple when it comes to smartphones. If they head into their carrier’s shop and ask for a phone under $600, they will naturally gravitate towards the one made by Apple or Samsung.

Related: These are the best Samsung phones you can get

Right now, though, there’s not much on the shelf from Samsung for them to choose. At T-Mobile, for example, there are the usual Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones and then only the Galaxy A20 and Galaxy A10e. Those last two are sub-$250 phones that launched nearly a year ago, so the T-Mobile employee is unlikely to recommend them and the savvy consumer is obviously going to get something else.

By the end of this summer, though, there will be a lot more choices on the shelf. There will also be carrier employees who will know that the $400 Samsung Galaxy A51 will deliver on almost every user’s needs while costing less than half of even the lowest-tier Galaxy S20. Samsung will finally have bonafide entries in the US mid-range market, and the sky is the limit on how much it could make of that opportunity.

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