Samsung’s flagship superphone, the Galaxy S III today made its U.S. debut with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular. The multiple-carrier strategy has catapulted Samsung in recent months to the top mobile OEM spot globally, supplanting Nokia, which had held the crown for nearly a decade.
Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless will offer a 1.5 GHz dual-core LTE-capable version of the Galaxy S III, while T-Mobile will offer a dual-core HSPA+ 42 model. The model previously released in Europe and Asia included a quad-core processor, standard HSPA+ radio and 1GB of RAM. The U.S. version will come with 2GB of RAM.
In a press release, Samsung listed AT&T as a launch partner for the device, but as of this writing AT&T had not confirmed details on whether it would carry the LTE or HSPA+ version of the phone.
The Galaxy S III comes running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream sandwich), features an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera with intelligent camera features and facial recognition, 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen, as well as near field communications (NFC).
This is also the first of Samsung’s phone to come equipped with S Voice (voice-controlled virtual assistant), AllShare Play (video streaming to a compatible TV) and S Beam (photo sharing by “bumping” two Samsung phones together).
The Galaxy S III will come in 16 GB and 32 GB models, which will sell for $200 and $250, respectively, at all carriers with a two-year contract. Preorders begin for some carriers this week, with actualy availablity spanning from June 21 on Sprint to sometime in July for U.S. Cellular customers.
The popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note have put the OEM in an enviable position. Samsung reported selling 38 million smartphones worldwide in the first quarter of 2012.
According to Gartner, sales of Samsung’s Android-based smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 represented more than 40 percent of Android-based smartphone sales worldwide.