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Why Verizon Was Right to Pass on the Galaxy S II

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You may have heard. There is a Samsung event planned for this evening where Sammy and three major U.S. carriers will announce the Samsung Galaxy S II devices that will launch in the United States. Notice how I said three. That’s because Verizon will be absent from tonight’s event after confirming that it will be passing on releasing a Galaxy S II device.

The majority reaction from the Verizon faithful, at least from what I’ve seen, has been that of frustration. How could Verizon pass on such an awesome device, one that is considered one of the very best Android phones ever made?

Well, Verizon had its reasons, some obvious and some not, for passing on this phone and in the end, it’s my opinion that passing on the Galaxy S II was a smart move on Big Red’s part.

Galaxy S II

Here’s why.

Motorola Droid Bionic

You may have also heard that Verizon is going to be releasing a device called the Motorola Droid Bionic in September. Love it or hate it, we can all agree that this is an absolutely huge launch for Motorola and Verizon and the device has expectations that are through the roof. Not only is it Big Red’s first dual-core 4G LTE smartphone, and really, the only one that’s worth buying, but it was delayed leaving people hanging in the balance.

Droid Bionic Red Eye

As I’ve said before, Motorola and Verizon are going to have to go to great lengths to convince people to get this bad boy.

Nexus

A Better Galaxy S II

I realize a lot of people would have bought a Galaxy S II device, especially if it had 4G LTE, but there will be a Galaxy S II device coming out on Verizon. It just won’t be called Samsung Galaxy S II. Instead, it’s likely going to be called the Samsung Nexus Prime or Samsung Droid Prime.

There have been reports that this Droid Prime will be an exclusive to Verizon and that it will likely be the device that takes the place of the Galaxy S II. It’s unclear whether it’s going to be the next Nexus but it’s possible if it is indeed the first phone to get Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

If they are one in the same, Nexus/Droid, then this very well could be a device with some incredible specs and a vanilla version of Android on board. I can’t even imagine how well a device without any custom UI, amazing specs, Droid or Nexus branding, and a 4G LTE network behind it would sell.

There is a more likely scenario though.

It’s very possible that Verizon could release the Droid Prime with TouchWiz, a bunch of bloatware and fantastic specs.  So, a phone that isn’t a Nexus device.

And while that wouldn’t be good for consumers who want a vanilla experience, it would still be fantastic for Verizon to be the exclusive provider of the first Ice Cream Sandwich device. With 4G LTE and the new software, it would immediately put the device into another echelon.

I think most people could live with a Droid/Galaxy S II combo with TouchWiz over Android Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box.

Trouble With Tiered Data

All that being said, Verizon’s image took a hit when it introduced tiered data plans back in July. The point of 4G LTE is to get fast data speeds for use with data. Tiered data plans are not kind to data munchers and that means that Verizon has to get creative to lure customers in.

How about, skipping a Samsung event with the other three carriers – AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile – waiting to release a Galaxy S II style device on its own, slap the very publicly recognized Droid name on it, launch it with the newest version of Android – possibly a Vanilla version – and launch it after the Droid Bionic has picked up tons of customers?

Brilliant.

Brilliant because this means that Verizon will be launching two unique Android phones on top of the iPhone 5. It will have the Droid Bionic mopping up new contracts before the iPhone 5 launches and it will also likely have a Droid Prime cleaning up those that didn’t buy the Droid Bionic or the iPhone 5.

Sure, let AT&T and Sprint and T-Mobile battle over the Galaxy S II. Verizon can just sit back and release not one, not two, but three absolutely massive devices while the rest of the carriers fight over the scraps.

Brilliant.

What do you think? Poor decision by Verizon or do you think it was wise to take a pass and release something more unique after the Droid Bionic’s launch?

34 Comments

  1. @toofly504

    08/30/2011 at 9:48 pm

    From what I’m hearing.. Er.. Reading is that the Droid/Nexus Prime is gonna demolish the SGS2 in all specs, so instead of complaining, Verizon customers should be glad they getting the Bad Boy. Me myself is a Verizon customer (Thunderbolt) and would get the Prime first day.

    • Earleepa

      09/03/2011 at 7:16 am

      I’ll believe the specs when I see the benchmark tests against each other.

    • Earleepa

      09/03/2011 at 7:16 am

      I’ll believe the specs when I see the benchmark tests against each other.

  2. 83j

    08/30/2011 at 10:07 pm

    Verizon still has the most advanced network. But there is really no excuse for them passing up Galaxy S2. Unless they’re trying to get in bed with Google through boosting the Bionic and Motorola. At the moment, Moto’s devices are awful and poorly constructed. The Atrix which is the older brother Bionic had its share of problems and sure some of them we’re directly due to ATT and the lack of sideloading Android apps as well as capping 4G HSPA speed. It makes me the think the Bionic will go through the same situtation even if it is on a different carrier.

    • lordloki

      09/01/2011 at 3:42 pm

      poorly constructed?? no. you might not like them, but solid construction is what moto offers. metal. durable.  rather than Samsung and their notorious plastic.

      • Tony Perez

        09/03/2011 at 8:15 pm

        That’s just it, I agree with the superior quality of Moto handsets since they got into the Android realm. I hope the Nexus/Droid Prime is of high quality but if not, I’ll go with the Bionic for durability. I can get some great coverage on whatever handset I get but I don’t want to replace my phone every few months because it’s cheaply. made. My Droid 1 is going on 21 months straight and that’s the first time I’ve EVER had a handset last that long! Go Moto!

        • Ryan Laursen

          09/08/2011 at 4:48 pm

          My big complaint with the Droid 1 is dust behind the screen.  I’m sure it’s inevitable due to the sliding keyboard.

        • Guest

          09/14/2011 at 4:37 pm

          I never got dust behind mine, and i have pocketed the thing for 20 months all day every day now…

    • vbscript2

      09/01/2011 at 6:16 pm

      As a VZ customer anxiously sitting on an upgrade, if VZ passed on the SGS II in order to get the Nexus/Droid Prime, I’ll forgive them. Also, I don’t think Samsung has yet made an LTE version of the SGS II (they just recently announced that they will be making one later, though.) If it didn’t have LTE (which it doesn’t,) I would have passed on the SGS II anyway. I think the lack of LTE may have been the number 1 reason VZ passed on SGS II. If they could get the Nexus Prime with LTE, the rumored 720p AMOLED display, and dual-core 1.5 GHz processor only a month or two later, I can definitely understand passing on the SGS II, especially with the Bionic coming out anyway.

    • Tony Perez

      09/03/2011 at 8:12 pm

      There IS an excuse if the DO release a Samsung Nexus/Prime handset as forecasted. Moto’s devices are NOT all awful. I find their Android handsets the most durable and reliable if not the most sexy in design. However, the delay in the Bionic is not a good move and I’d like to know the real reason they delayed it this long. Now, the Prime and other high-end handsets are coming by the end of the year and I’m happy to wait 90 days or less for more phone for the same price as the Bionic. Not because it’s inferior quality. Because I want more functionality (in addition to quality) from my first 4G/LTE handset. 

  3. RyanP22

    08/30/2011 at 10:38 pm

    you forgot to mention Apple suing Samsung specifically regarding the Galaxy S II which is going to be a big headache for Samsung when Apple wins. Verizon may want to distance itself from that set until Samsung pays up or worse the Galaxy S II gets shut down.

    • Anonymous

      08/30/2011 at 10:59 pm

      Good point. Interested to see how that plays out.

      • Anonymous

        08/31/2011 at 12:11 am

        hey Adam I read what you said about the bionic; “Not only is it Big Red’s first dual-core 4G LTE smartphone, and really, the only one that’s worth buying,”.  I would say that qualifies as a recommendation so do I get to keep my life :)

  4. Anonymous

    08/30/2011 at 11:01 pm

    So, now that the devices have been announced, I think this holds up even better. No NFC and too many similarities. None of them really separate themselves from the pack.

    Again, I think Verizon was smart to wait and release their own uniquely branded device.

    Thoughts on the new announcements? You can find them on the front page.

  5. Anonymous

    08/31/2011 at 12:07 am

    At this point we are all left with a “pick your poison” approach to selecting a new smartphone. For example Verizon has yet to release a 4G LTE smartphone that is global ready. Also it will be very interesting to hear once there are more sets to choose from and user’s on Verizon’s 4G network what all the bugs will be for each specific set. I have already read the bionic will not be able to simultaneously surf the internet and maintain a voice conversation when it drops down from 4G to 3G. September 8th will come and go but I will still be waiting.

  6. Adam Truelove

    08/31/2011 at 1:20 am

    I appreciate your optimistic predictions, though Verizon has a track record of screwing their customers and doing what’s in their best interest and not their customers’.  I would LOVE a true Nexus device on Verizon with Vanilla Android, but I think a Droid version with tons of bloatware and TouchWiz is more likely.

  7. Scotty Braun

    08/31/2011 at 3:02 am

    Well if it ends the way it looks with the Bionic, Vigor, Revolution 2, Prime, and iPhone 5, this will be a big fall season for Verizon!

  8. BrianB13

    08/31/2011 at 5:08 am

    Excellent move by Verizon to skip on the SGSII.  With 5 high end phones on the way, they don’t need the SGSII.  Tiered data plans will become reality on high speed data networks as these networks would not be sustainable otherwise.  Definitely not a problem for me.  Bring on these phones and let the good times roll!!

  9. Wilfredo

    09/01/2011 at 2:44 am

    I’m a Verizon customer still with my New Every Two. My contract ended in June. So I’ll be sitting tight for now. But I have to say I was a little disappointed about Verizon not getting the SGS2 because I probably would have gotten it. Although, I think that there will be a better version of it in the coming months. Whether it’s the Prime or Droid Prime or whatever it’s called. Not to mention all the other hot phones coming to Verizon. I will say that I’m passing on the Bionic cuz it just seems ancient already even if it hasn’t come out yet. I do hope, if Verizon gets it, that the Prime is a Nexus phone and not a Droid branded version but that’s not to say that I won’t snatch it up anyway gobble up all the ICE CREAM SANDWICH goodness… YUM! :)

  10. Wilfredo

    09/01/2011 at 2:44 am

    I’m a Verizon customer still with my New Every Two. My contract ended in June. So I’ll be sitting tight for now. But I have to say I was a little disappointed about Verizon not getting the SGS2 because I probably would have gotten it. Although, I think that there will be a better version of it in the coming months. Whether it’s the Prime or Droid Prime or whatever it’s called. Not to mention all the other hot phones coming to Verizon. I will say that I’m passing on the Bionic cuz it just seems ancient already even if it hasn’t come out yet. I do hope, if Verizon gets it, that the Prime is a Nexus phone and not a Droid branded version but that’s not to say that I won’t snatch it up anyway gobble up all the ICE CREAM SANDWICH goodness… YUM! :)

  11. mudkipz

    09/01/2011 at 4:10 pm

    As much as I would love to wait for that new phone thats coming around the corner, I’m tired of waiting. I will pick up the bionic a few days after its release if the reviews are good. These days there is always going to be that new phone that will blow the last one away. You pretty much just have to find the one thats badass enough to do everything you want it to, and settle with it for 2 years and tune out the tech news. Yeah it’s a delayed phone. They upgraded a lot of the specs so its not incredibly outdated. I have never owned a smartphone, so chances are I’m never actually going to push the phone to its limits until much later when I really start figuring out how to use the thing. Plus, Moto was bought by Google, so it can’t be that bad.

    • Tony Perez

      09/03/2011 at 8:21 pm

      Google bought Moto but months after development on improving the Bionic started. By the way, the Bionic took 9 months from announcement to release. Thousands have waited because nothing better came to VZW since the beginning of 2001. Not very “just around the corner,” However, the upcoming dual-core handsets being released in Q4 of 2011 look like they’ll be worth waiting another few weeks for.

  12. Whitecomet

    09/01/2011 at 4:25 pm

    Imo the best option for verizon and samsung would be for the uber phone from samsung be called droid prime keeping the nexus name as a no contract type phone. 

    The droid name is recognized by ones in the know as top shelf and for thoise that dont’ know they want a droid phone like many want  a i phone it has strong name recognition.  The way they should do it is as stated be called droid prime and have touchwiz out of the box.

    This is a good thing for most droid users as touch wiz helps many that are still new to the android platform and has some useful stuff.  The other plus it would help sway i phone buyers a plain vanilla option will not do this the want a total solution not one to tweak.  The cherry on the cake would for the droid name is have a unlocked boot loader this way it will be easy to wipe it out and go plain vanila for the individuals that want to tweek it. Most users that want a plain clean os are not noobs so rooting a unlocked phone will not be a big hastle.  I think if they took this aproach it would be a phone that will accomodate everyone well and will sell like crazy.

    I had my heart set on the bionic 6 moth’s ago now I am just gonna wait for the vigor it looks like it can come out soon and this uber samsung I think both will be very comperable and it looks like htc will not lock bootloaders so that’s promising. I also think htc makes a more rugged device where samsung goes for more towrds slim profile phones that have good hardware but their cases always seem cheap. It’s silly to get the bionic if for the same dough you can get a phone like the htc with 500mhz faster chips and a hd screen or the samsung with more speed probably 1.5 ghz and ice cream samwich out of the box and a hd screen. The bionic is gonna get smoked.

    • Tony Perez

      09/03/2011 at 8:23 pm

      VZW is welcome to plaster what they feel is necessary on the Prime….as long as the provide an unlocked bootloader. What do you guys think/

  13. Nelsgullik

    09/29/2011 at 12:30 am

    I am due for an update next month, and if the timing(release)  of the new rumored phones is in October, or early November, I will be forgiving (and grateful) ! Honestly, I would just purchase the Charge and stick with Verizon, but for the lack of a dual core,  and, at least  a 234..Certainly taking a deep sigh and a wait and see..

  14. Stinkpinkerton

    02/17/2012 at 9:51 pm

    Man, it’s to bad for Verizon that nothing (even 5 months later) has been able to beat the mighty SGS2. The bionic was a bust. The G-Nex is good but not the quite ace they we’re hoping for and betting on. And the iPhone 5 looks like it will be released just in time to get stomped out by the SGS3. This did not turn out to be a good decision for verizon.

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