The AT&T version of Samsung's Galaxy S4 will be available for pre-order beginning April 16 and is a bit more expensive than some would have anticipated. The new phone will start at $249.99 with a two-year contract. No specific launch date for the phone has been announced, but Samsung has said it would be in the second quarter of 2013.
The news comes just days after T-Mobile announced that it would be the first U.S. carrier to offer the long-awaited Android phone on May 1. T-Mobile's new "contract-free" price for the phone will be $99 up front with monthly payments following.
The newest installment of Samsung's Galaxy line of phones offers a series of hardware and software improvements over the company's popular Galaxy S3. The phone has a larger, 5-inch, 1080p screen, faster quad-core processor and support for gesture controls with Air Gesturing and Air View. It also has new camera software and built-in health and fitness tracking capabilities. Both the AT&T and the T-Mobile versions of the Galaxy S4 will operate on the carriers' LTE networks.
Last year's Samsung Galaxy S3 was seen by many as the first real competitor for Apple's iPhone, something that the Android class of phones had been lacking since launching on all four carriers in 2010.
Apple has responded to the launch of the Galaxy S3's successor with a series of iPhone-praising ads and comments from Apple's senior vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller. "Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn't as good as an iPhone," Schiller told The Wall Street Journal. Apple's iPhone 5 costs $199 with a two-year contract at AT&T, $50 less than Samsung's Galaxy S4 will cost when it hits this spring.