Samsung Galaxy S II U.S. Release: Carrier Breakdown
Samsung sorta kinda let us know that the Samsung Galaxy S II would finally be launching in the United States next month after it has seemingly launched everywhere else on the planet. And while we still have no concrete information on the what’s and when’s of the situation, we have seen a few leaks in the last couple of weeks after seeing absolutely nothing at all.
So, I thought it appropriate that we break down what we’ve seen so far and maybe make a few predictions along the way. Sound good? I thought so. Now, before we get into this, realize that none of this is confirmed. The U.S. Galaxy S II, although confirmed, is still somewhat of a mirage on the horizon which means that we only have a few bits and pieces here and there. Here are those bits and pieces.
AT&T’s Galaxy S II launch, at first, might have looked disappointing to some of you. A device that we suspected was AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S II leaked out in a mysterious render and then, a day later, it appeared in the wilds. So, why was it disappointing? Well, it had a physical keyboard. There are definitely still people, people who likely were BlackBerry owners in a past life, who love physical keyboards. For the most part though, I think people would rather have a slim device with a virtual keyboard rather than a bulky phone with a physical QWERTY.
This AT&T device had such a keyboard but it was almost impossible to tell how bulky it was from the photos. The keyboard did look fairly appetizing though as Samsung has apparently ditched the 3-button design for a 4-button look. OK, great, but AT&T badly needs a flagship all-touch Android phone. The Atrix 4G and Infuse 4G just aren’t cutting it, folks, let’s face it. And I don’t think an Epic 4G-esque QWERTY phone would either, even if it’s the Galaxy S II.
But wait just a minute? Another AT&T Galaxy S II was spotted? Yes, people, it looks like AT&T has an absolutely brilliant plan up their sleeves: “Let’s release two Galaxy S II devices, one with a physical keyboard and one without. That should hold us over before LTE gets here.” Darn right it will. Now, a dual-launch is not guaranteed but the possibility has me giddy.
Two weeks ago, a mysterious Samsung device complete with Sprint branding leaked out in a single shot. It’s assumed that the blurry phone that you see here is Sprint’s version of the Galaxy S II. At the time, only two details were known. One, it had Android 2.3.4 on board and two, it had an 8MP camera. OK, fairly exciting. However, heart rates across the U.S. went up this week when a device that’s believed to be the handset in this phone galloped through the FCC jockeyed by Sprint’s WiMax network.
Yes folks, a 4G WiMax Galaxy S II device is all but confirmed and that means that Sprint’s current lineup just got even more ridiculous. You see, the carrier recently launched the HTC EVO 3D, an extremely capable WiMax phone and it’s now gearing up to release a flagship Motorola device, the Motorola Photon 4G, on July 31st. Paired with Sprint’s true unlimited data plans, these are all appetizing phones.
And while many of you might consider this a curse, the decision is going to be tough, I’d like to think of it as a gift. Show me another carrier with an Android lineup that is as solid as this.
Now, the Galaxy S II’s launch has unfortunately been preceded by some bad news. Sprint might be moving from WiMax to LTE at some point in the future so you have to ask yourself? Will it roll out during the two years that you’re going to have to dedicate to one of these phones? Jury’s out but it’s something to keep in mind when forking over your cold hard cash and signature.
T-Mobile released not one, but two devices with Galaxy S branding last year so it would be extremely surprising if the carrier didn’t release a Galaxy S II variant to do battle with the HTC Sensation 4G and myTouch 4G Slide. That being said, the trail is completely cold in regards to a T-Mobile branded Galaxy S II device. We didn’t see it pop up in the initial leak of the Galaxy S II cases and we haven’t seen a device in the wilds. So, plenty of theories here:
- T-Mobile has done a good job of keeping this thing under wraps.
- A release might be further out than the other three devices.
- There is no T-Mobile Galaxy S II.
I have a hard time believing #3 and I am leaning toward #2 as being the reason that we haven’t seen anything in regards to the T-Mobile Galaxy S II. Maybe we’ll see a September launch instead of an August one? Or better yet, and this is what I am hoping for, maybe T-Mobile is going to release it as a HSPA+ 42Mbps device. It’s also entirely possible that the Samsung Hercules, a HSPA+ 42Mpbs infused Samsung Infuse may be released instead of a Galaxy S II.
Really big question mark here and to be honest, it’s rubbing me the wrong way but I’m still optimistic and you guys should be too.
Speaking of question marks, Verizon’s Galaxy S II is another big one. We’re pretty confident that Big Red has a Galaxy S II device up its sleeve but the question now is whether it’s a 4G LTE device or not. Verizon Support kindly let us know that it was, in fact, 4G LTE enabled only to retract that statement and attribute it to the 4G LTE on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
I have no idea how you could misread the question that was asked so either the people working that twitter account need some glasses or they jumped the gun on something they weren’t supposed to. I am leaning toward the latter. Think about it. Verizon has had to have lost confidence in Motorola. The Droid Bionic is late. 4G LTE to the Xoom is late. and it would make sense that they would want a dual-core competitor out in case the Droid Bionic isn’t up to snuff.
Big Red needs to bolster its 4G LTE lineup ahead of AT&T’s launch and what better way to do so then to launch a 4G LTE version of one of the best Android phones ever made? Makes sense to me and I’m hoping this happens because it would not only bring some much needed attention to Verizon’s growing 4G LTE network but it would also bring an incredible device into the hands on consumers.
If the iPhone 5 doesn’t have LTE and the Droid Bionic launches in September, I can only imagine how many Galaxy S II’s Samsung is going to add to the 6 million devices it has already sold. Two devices on AT&T? A WiMax phone on Sprint? A possibly 4G LTE enabled Galaxy S II on Verizon? And maybe even an HSPA+ 42Mbps phone on T-Mobile? If Samsung pulls this off, wow, it’s hard to wrap my head around it.
How do you guys think it’s going to play out?
(Note: I realize that the SG II could land on more than the big four but at this point, I don’t want to get into that.)