It was Samsung Mobile’s time to shine in America last night when the handset maker debuted the U.S. version of its Galaxy S II, a platform that’s already selling admirably overseas.
Unveiled at an event in New York City – one day later than planned thanks to Hurricane Irene – versions of the Galaxy S II smartphone will hit AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA this fall.
No specific dates were released for the AT&T and T-Mobile models, but Sprint said its Galaxy S II product, the Epic 4G Touch, will go on sale beginning Sept. 16 for $199.99.
Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said the carrier chose not to carry the Samsung Galaxy S II because “we have a robust portfolio of devices that offer customers exciting options including the Droid Charge by Samsung which runs on our 4G LTE network.” She declined to comment on a Boy Genius Report earlier this week that cited an unnamed source saying the carrier would instead offer the Samsung Droid Prime based on Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, when it’s available later in the year.
At their event, Samsung Mobile executives didn’t mention Verizon’s absence but touted the new features in the S II. Chief Marketing Officer Todd Pendleton, just about two months on the job, explained that one of the big reasons he left his previous position at Nike was products like the Galaxy S II, a “truly best in class” phone that has sold 5 million units in 85 days after being released in Europe and Korea. “We’re looking for even better results here in North America,” he said.
Even before the official launch, some tech websites were pegging the device as the nearest to an iPhone killer yet from Samsung. On the hardware side, the S II includes Super AMOLED Plus and a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor – but not just any dual-core. This one has EXYNOS C210 with 1080p resolution, meaning it records with the highest Megabits per second and will look exceptionally great on an HDTV, according to Nick DiCarlo, Samsung Mobile’s vice president of product planning. It’s three times faster than the Galaxy S.
All the units are built for each carrier’s respective 4G networks, and they have larger/longer-lasting batteries despite the smaller size compared to the first version. In its press release announcing the Galaxy S II, AT&T touted it as the nation’s thinnest 4G smartphone and based on a side-by-side comparison picture, comparable to the width of a No. 2 pencil.
As an added bonus, Samsung highlighted the HDTV component that’s built in. Applications enable inter-device connectivity through Digital Living Network Alliance (DNLA) technology, so users can send user-generated video wirelessly to other DLNA-enabled devices, such as TVs, monitors and laptops. With the TV Remote App in the Android Market, the Galaxy S II turns into a remote control for several models of Samsung HDTVs.
In addition to HD output support, the device includes a video editor, with effects and themes.
On the software side, it’s running the latest Gingerbread OS with Samsung’s touch user interface. The phone supports various video chat services, but Google Talk really brings the ecosystem together, DiCarlo said.
Gavin Kim, vice president of consumer and enterprise services, said Samsung already had made significant investments in enterprise on top of Android, but it’s driving broader capabilities for consumers and prosumers alike in the latest iteration, which should give some additional peace of mind to IT managers.
There’s also an integrated voice control engine so that users can set the phone on a desk or dock it in a car and verbally give commands to play audio or navigate to some web destination.