Samsung is releasing unlocked models of its Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones, according to a Best Buy listing that the retailer has confirmed to The Verge as accurate. Preorders begin May 9th, strongly hinting at an earlier release date than unlocked versions of Galaxy S flagships have typically seen in recent years. With the S7 and S7 Edge, the unlocked models weren’t released until June — three months after the devices first launched at US carriers.
Both unlocked phones should be free of carrier apps and bloatware. The S8 is listed at $724.99, which is cheaper than you’ll find it at any major US carrier besides Verizon. Same goes for the S8 Plus, which Best Buy will sell unlocked for $824.99.
However, Samsung has done a poor job keeping the unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge up to date with the latest Android software. The unlocked US models have still yet to receive Android 7.0 Nougat, even after all carrier versions have already received the update. To Android fans, that probably sounds very backwards. Aside from the freedom to bring them to any carrier, another perk of unlocked handsets has usually been a short wait for updates. So Samsung’s sluggish pace of bringing the latest Android features to its previous flagship might turn off some potential unlocked customers.
But they’re coming, and seemingly pretty soon.