I don't care what Samsung says, the Galaxy A55 should be sold in the US — here's why

Samsung Galaxy A55 in yellow
(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 got announced this week, although we quickly found out that the A55 will not be coming to the U.S. Samsung's given us its reason, but I am not convinced it's a good one.

According to a statement from Samsung (via Android Authority): "While we will not be carrying Galaxy A55 5G at this time, consumers can still take advantage of our Galaxy innovation at great value with Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 FE."

Now, the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23 FE are a pair of great phones, with their relative age offset by their lowered prices. But offering older phones in place of a new cheaper one isn't a like-for-like replacement. 

A newer cheaper phone probably still has a longer software update plan ahead of it, and could suit your particular needs better due to the way it’s designed to perform well on a couple of features, rather than in general. Plus, cheaper phones can have their own personality that’s more appealing to certain groups than flagship phones, as we see with Samsung’s typically bright colors for its A series models.

Sometimes selling older models works better as a budget phone strategy - just look at Apple and how it’s still keeping 2021’s iPhone 13 around, or is still keeping the iPhone 8’s legacy going with the iPhone SE 2022. But unlike Apple, Samsung does have the breadth in its smartphone portfolio to offer a uniquely designed budget phone, but it’s just choosing not to.

Only in America

This confuses me all the more because all the phones we've discussed so far are, or will be, available here in the U.K. Plus, over here we also have access to a few of Samsung's even cheaper line of Galaxy M phones, for when you really want to save money.

Samsung presumably has plenty of data about sales, and greater knowledge of how the U.S. smartphone market works as a whole, and at least a strong sense of how it wants its smartphone line-up in the U.S. to look. But it doesn't feel logical, or even sensible, to limit its choice for a huge pool of customers in this way, but offer its full arsenal of phones to another like this.

Leaving a gap in the market

Of course Samsung isn't simply not selling the Galaxy A55 in the U.S., it's effectively swapping in the Galaxy A35 into its role as cheaper Samsung phone. But this isn't going to be a direct replacement either.

The Galaxy A5x line of phones has been a regular on our best cheap phones list, with previous A5x models acting as an important rival for Google's Pixel a-series. The current Galaxy A54's presence has become even more important since it first launched last year because the Pixel 7a brought a price increase to Google's budget line, and it's not expected that the Pixel 8a will undo that. And with third place on our list belonging to the OnePlus 12R, which is still $500, Samsung has been the only one keeping to the established $400+ price for mid-range phones.

The Galaxy A35 will be cheaper than the A55 would have been, going by its currently announced pricing elsewhere in the world. Arguably, that's leaning into one of the Galaxy A54's advantages, as is the fact that the A35 and A55 use identical display and battery tech. But with worse cameras and performance specs than its big sibling, the weakest parts of Samsung's budget phone package will be even weaker than usual, which could push users to the more expensive Google and OnePlus options, or even to the Nothing Phone 2a, another cheap phone that offers a dazzling design and high-quality specs where it counts. 

Perhaps once we try out the Galaxy A35 and A55, American phone buyers will feel like they're getting the stronger of the two phones after all. And the gap that Samsung's leaving in the cheap phones zone isn't short of alternatives as we've seen. But if you ask me right now, Samsung's holding back exactly the wrong phone from the U.S. market, directing users to its rivals or a less appropriate Samsung phone as the unfortunate result.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • Fredsteakflute
    I agree... anyways, A55 are already available on Ebay and Amazon.com from 3rd party sellers so Samsung should think again about this. I'm from Canada and I've been waiting for the A55 to come out since my A53's camera failed two weeks ago. The A35 still offers great features but the slower cpu and its 12mp selfie camera bother me a bit.
    Reply
  • sneakySkin
    It is pretty maddening - I am trying to get the best value upgrade for my wife's aging 128gb A51 and the A55 256gb is literally the perfect fit. She wants the storage, better camera and chip (over the A35) and if we go backward to an S-series like SAMMY is steering us all, (refurb full version or FE models) in 256gb, we're both forced to accept a smaller battery (4k ma/h vs 5 on A-series) and pay an extra $150-200 depending on the friggin color...

    The insult - I can order one being sold on US soil, that came form S.America, but the warranty won't be any good here, and there may be some band that gets bonked on US towers.

    Straight up greed is what it looks and feels like IMO. The flash media prices on integrated boards like a phone are absolutely outrageous compared to stand alone SSD storage / flash options for PCs. Rant over :-/
    Reply