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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?