Check our out full written review of the Samsung Galaxy S3.
The news is out. Samsung has revealed that it has managed to strike deals with all four major US wireless carriers and a fifth, for good measure. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular will all offer the Galaxy S3 at some point in June with a retail price of $200 with a two-year contract. The news is good for everyone who might want a S3, but may also be monumental in its own right.
Big progress in one year
The news shows the progress Samsung’s Galaxy brand has made in less than a year. Though carriers beg for the chance to sell an iPhone, it took many months for Samsung to convince US carriers to accept the Galaxy S2 last year. The phone was released in Europe around May 2011, but didn’t hit the US market in force until October. And even then, it was hardly a unified launch. Verizon passed on the device entirely, and the three carriers that did accept the phone — AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile — each required ridiculous customizations and name changes to make their versions seem unique. Sprint and T-Mobile even had the S2’s screen enlarged to 4.5 inches. Internal processors, the curvature and outward design of the phone, and many other traits varied between models. Sprint even refused to call it a Galaxy S2, instead renaming it to the “Epic 4G Touch.” Release dates varied between mid September and mid October.
The Galaxy S3 appears to be a different story. The name (“Galaxy S III”), internal specs, price, screen size (4.8 inches), weight (4.7oz), and thickness (8.6mm) appear to be standardized.
The first simultaneous phone launch?
This may be the first phone to be released on all four US carriers with the same name and branding since, well, the original Motorola Razr. Don’t hold me to that. There may have been other huge phones that I’m forgetting, but it is extremely rare for a brand to be big enough that US carriers want it enough that they will all accept it without branding changes. Even in the case of the Razr, it took a long time for it to extend its reach outside of AT&T, and was slightly redesigned for Verizon and other carriers (for the better). The iPhone is slowly building its footprint, but still isn’t available on T-Mobile.
Will other phones follow suit?
Could this be the shape of things to come? We certainly hope so, but probably not. HTC and Nokia have tried to unify their smartphone offerings around the One X and Lumia 900 as well, but both have had to settle for releasing on a single carrier first. HTC has gotten the One X on Sprint and T-Mobile as well, but extensive sacrifices had to be made. T-Mobile got its own phone, pretty much, in the One S, and Sprint has required a complete rebranding of the phone, calling it the EVO 4G LTE.
Odds and ends
The European launch of the Galaxy S3 was plagued by delays in the ‘Pebble blue’ Galaxy S3. Judging by the mention of the blue model in the press release, we are hopeful, and suspect, that both white and blue will launch in the US.