Samsung Galaxy Alpha released as an AT&T exclusive

Samsung Galaxy Alpha
AT&T locks up Alpha exclusive

It may not warrant the same kind of hoopla afforded a certain new Apple device released last week, but AT&T has quietly started offering Samsung's latest Galaxy smartphone as a US exclusive on its website.

Following a press release last week, AT&T today slipped the new Samsung Galaxy Alpha into its online product mix. The Galaxy Alpha is available in a trio of color schemes starting at $199.99 with two-year agreement or an oddly priced $612.99 with no annual contract.

Available in black, white or gold, Galaxy Alpha is notable for being a departure from Samsung's typical flagship handsets such as the Galaxy S5, a handset some have criticized for its use of a plastic casing.

The 4.7-inch display on the Galaxy Alpha is instead housed frame that features a metal trim. The phone bears more than a passing resemblance to last year's iPhone 5S, thanks to the squared-off edges which offer a more premium look.

New directions

Despite the fresh design, Samsung has curiously taken a step backward when it comes to the display; the Alpha packs a mere 1080 x 720 pixels into its Super AMOLED panel, a step down from the full 1080p on the Galaxy S5.

Internally, the Galaxy Alpha isn't exactly a slouch, powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz with 2GB RAM running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system.

A quick spot check of local in-store availability shows plenty of inventory at AT&T retail stores across the nation.

AT&T Next customers are also eligible to pick up the Samsung Galaxy Alpha for a mere $25.55 per month for 24 months with upgrade eligibility in 18 months, or $30.65 per month for 20 months for those who prefer to upgrade every 12 months instead.