Samsung DROID Prime — Verizon’s Reason for Snubbing Samsung Galaxy S II

by: Elmer MontejoAugust 30, 2011

Is the Motorola DROID Bionic Verizon’s real reason for passing up the Samsung Galaxy S II? We previously answered with a confident yes to that question–until new rumors started circulating about another potential big reason for Verizon to let the Samsung Galaxy S II arrive on U.S. shores without taking a bite of some of the Galaxy S II’s glory. There is another glorious phone coming up, one more sensational and more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S II–the Samsung DROID Prime, which many purport to be the Nexus Prime rumored and speculated about earlier.

Sources “close” to tech blog Boy Genius Report (BGR) have whispered that Verizon has locked on to a powerful handset that will transform into the Samsung DROID Prime (model number SCH-I515) when Verizon releases it.

Verizon did not see the Samsung Galaxy S II as having enough punch to knock down the upcoming iPhone 5 , said BGR’s sources. But, the Samsung DROID Prime does have big knuckles (assuming the rumored Nexus Prime and the Samsung DROID Prime are one and the same device), and it is going to be exclusive to Verizon when it is released this October.

Hype about the Samsung DROID Prime

If the upcoming Samsung DROID Prime is the Nexus Prime talked about in a lot of earlier rumors, then people have a lot to look forward to, since the Nexus Prime’s fame precedes its first appearance. The chief reason for the eager anticipation for the Nexus Prime is the 180-percent-better Android 2.4/4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), also rumored to be served this October. Another big reason is the Nexus Prime’s rumored specs that make the Motorola DROID Bionic look more stale (for some people anyway) than it already is:

A 4.5 Inch 1280x720 Display, made by Hitachi

  • 4.65-inch (other sources say 4.5-inch) Super AMOLED Plus (or even HD) touchscreen
  • Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 (or 4460) dual-core processor clocked anywhere between 1.5 GHz and 1.8 GHz
  • 1280×720 HD display resolution
  • at least 1.0 GB of RAM
  • at least 32 GB of internal storage
  • Verizon’s 4G LTE connection

The rumored rebrand of the Samsung Prime (Nexus Prime) into the Samsung DROID Prime is a very strong hint that it will take its place among other powerful Android smartphones in Verizon’s DROID series. The latest upcoming one in that series, is, of course, the Motorola DROID Bionic.

Some Issues

One very curious aspect of this new info is the rebrand name (Samsung DROID Prime). Being the flagship smartphone for Ice Cream Sandwich, we expect the phone to carry the Nexus brand, just as the previous two flagship phones Google Nexus One and Google Nexus S did. If Google sticks to its tradition for Nexus phones, the first ICS-bearing smartphone ought ought to have the Nexus name on it.

Artist's rendition of how the Nexus Prime might look like

But, since Verizon is rumored to rename the purported Nexus Prime into one for the DROID line, we have reason to speculate that either

  • Verizon has Google’s blessing, or
  • Google is setting a new precedent for flagship reference devices, or
  • the Samsung DROID Prime is simply just another ICS handset.

In the latter case, we can expect to find another Nexus handset that Google will bring out as the ICS reference smartphone for “pure Google” experience.

Skeptics who got wind of the news from BGR believe in the unlikelihood of the Samsung DROID Prime’s being the next Nexus reference device.  Instead, they say it is possible that Verizon will be releasing it as a DROID phone, albeit the first one to bear Ice Cream Sandwich.

And, just a thought–Samsung is about to launch at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA 2011) this week an LTE-capable version of the Samsung Galaxy S II rumored to be the Samsung Celox or the Samsung Galaxy S III.  If this more-powerful version of the Galaxy S II is headed for Verizon (hint is 4G LTE), would this turn out to be the Samsung DROID Prime?  If so, then it’s a cause for celebration because that would mean that the Google Nexus Prime would be an entirely different device.

The Nexus Prime will, in all likelihood, appear similar to the Samsung Celox / Galaxy S II LTE, pictured above

Another curious aspect of this recent development is the date. Verizon will be releasing the Motorola DROID Bionic this September 8. If the Samsung DROID Prime comes out about a month after (in October, as rumored), the DROID Prime could potentially drive a lot of the attention away from the DROID Bionic. Would Verizon stake that? Would Motorola (or its new owner) allow that? Besides, the HTC Vigor is also scheduled for release in October, and that device is another potential competitor. Throw the upcoming iPhone 5 into the mix, and you get the clear idea that Verizon is eyeing the prime devices that could bring in more subscribers.

Everything is still rumor and conjecture up to this point. But, what do you think of the possibility of a Samsung DROID Prime and an entirely new and different Google Nexus reference smartphone?

  • Jaonea

    wonder when they’ll stop making bigger and bigger screens…i with my big hands and SGS2 am at my limit

    • Seth M

      Agree. 4.3″ is fine. Anything bigger may fit in the pockets but would rip out the stitching. Came across one site that said the Droid/Nexus Prime would have a 4.63″ screen – thats like a mini tablet. And the weight of these things- getting too out of control.
      Bigger not always better.

    • George_k

      I’m not trying to pick on you — rather I’m addressing similar concerns voiced by many. Look, I’m only 5’6″ with average size hands for my height, and I’ve held phones and other portable electronics that are as large or larger than this device would be, and it doesn’t really seem to be problem. I also used to carry a rather large Palm Zire PDA with an aluminum clamshell after-market case in my pocket a long time ago. The size of these devices did not bother me in the least.

      On the other hand, what does bother me is trying to view things like websites, emails, forum postings, etc. on little portable screens, especially when I usually use a desktop computer for these tasks. It’s the old compromise between displaying the text large enough to read comfortably and having to constantly scroll because so little content can fit on that little screen. Therefore, for me, the bigger the screen, the better. Well… up to a point. I think I would definitely welcome anything up to 5″. 6″ might be pushing it, but not because of hand size, but because of “pocketability”.

      I hope more smartphones come out with 4.5″ or 5″ screens.

      • Sethis

        Like the term “pocketability”. My wife has a Droid X. Weight wise a little too heavy .

  • Dunnehy

    i rather have a phone with a bigger screen than one with a smaller screen because i think it feels better in my hand. i friend of mine has the att 4.5 samsung phone and it feel good in my hand, also fits just fine in my pocket. why not try it before you talk about it.

  • Don’t understand why people keep thinking that Verizon wants to prevent sales of the iPhone 5. Last time I checked Verizon carried the iPhone. Verizon wants good phones, and not ones that will take away sales from itself. Verizon’s need for the Nexus Prime is that it will take away sales from Sprint, ATT and TMo and their plethora of non-Google phones. That includes the SGSII.

    • I think the idea is that Verizon is looking to maintain competition within itself among different devices. Since iPhone5 is just around the corner, Verizon wants to ensure it has decent counter phone. by having good competitors in the same store they can drive more subscribers.

      My own personal opinion is that I would not touch any device that is not 4G LTE compatible at this point of the game.

  • Iej

    A note about the Samsung Celox. This is a precursor to Galaxy S II technology meaning it is not a variant of this phone at all nor a variant of the Galaxy S I. It is completely different animal and more powerful than a Galaxy S I. The signals are GSM meaning it could work on AT&T’s LTE network when it rolls out further in 2012. The current rumor is a Q4 2011 release for the phone meaning it could be launched alongside the HTC Holiday.