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Samsung Galaxy S 4 has one missing feature: Available inventory

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Reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone indicate this new handset is packed with functions, but something’s missing: Actual phones for two U.S. carriers. On Wednesday, both Sprint (s s) and T-Mobile announced delays in availability for Samsung’s new flagship phone, which was expected to arrive in stores before month end.

The official word from Sprint via email suggests that Samsung can’t deliver the required inventory in time:

“Sprint is excited to launch the new Samsung Galaxy 4.  We had planned to launch this next generation of the award-winning Samsung Galaxy line-up on Saturday, April 27. Unfortunately, due to unexpected inventory challenges from Samsung, we will be slightly delayed with our full product launch.  Sprint is one of Samsung’s largest partners and we are working closely with them to launch in all Sprint channels as soon as possible. We expect to make Galaxy S 4 available at and Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1) as planned on Saturday with Sprint retail stores and other channels receiving devices as inventory becomes available.”

T-Mobile offered a similar statement, noting a five day delay at this time:

“We know customers are really looking forward to getting their new Samsung Galaxy S 4 soon. However, due to an unexpected delay with inventory deliveries, the Galaxy S 4 will not be available on as planned on Wednesday, April 24. Instead, online availability is expected to begin on Monday, April 29. We apologize for any inconvenience and are working with Samsung to deliver the device to T-Mobile customers as soon as possible.”

AT&T(s t) began taking pre-orders for the Android phone on April 16 and its website currently shows April 30 as the shipping date for Galaxy S 4 orders. I noticed that date did change over the past few days — I saw an April 24 ship date at one point —  but the carrier didn’t issue a formal statement on phone availability. Verizon(s vz)(s vod) has yet to announce launch details and is widely expected to do so by May.

The inventory delay of a few days won’t likely hurt the Galaxy S 4, which is competing in the Android space against the HTC One. That phone also experienced delays, which the company really didn’t need. HTC builds a great phone, but it lacks the marketing power and brand awareness that Samsung enjoys. As a result, it has watched its share of sales drop while Samsung has gone on to rival Apple.

Update at 8:56am PT: Per a tweet from Ken Muche, Verizon PR: Verizon Wireless is opening Galaxy S 4 pre-orders on April 25 for $199 with contract and after a $50 mail in rebate, but the phones won’t be in stores until May 30. Thanks to PhoneScoop for spotting the tweet.

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