While the Samsung Galaxy S3 is already available in various international markets, US Android fans interested in purchasing the company’s 2012 flagship smartphone will have to wait at least a few more weeks to get it, if recent rumors are correct.
The phone is expected to land in U.S. stores on June 20, at which point you’ll be able to get your Galaxy S3 flavor from one of the four major mobile operators – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are already confirmed to carry the Galaxy S3 – or from one of the regional carriers that will surely pick up the phone.
Meanwhile, the first press photo of a U.S. Galaxy S3 version has been leaked and the image is quite revealing. The Verge got its hands on pics of T-Mobile’s Galaxy S3 versions, both in white and blue. From the looks of it, it appears that U.S. carriers are finally ready to launch the same Galaxy S3 version that’s available in Europe and other markets. The images reveal that the Home button is here to stay for a change, at least in T-Mobile’s Galaxy S3 version.
Historically, US carriers pressured Samsung to create custom Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 versions for their customers, and even went ahead and used different names for those devices. One of the most notable differences between US and international Galaxy S / Galaxy S II versions was the absence of the Home button, in both cases. American Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 models feature the standard 4-button layout found by default on most Android devices, while their international counterparts have a larger Home button flanked by two capacitive buttons.
In 2010, the Galaxy S was referred to in the USA as the Verizon Fascinate, the AT&T Captivate, the Sprint Epic 4G, the T-Mobile Vibrant, or the U.S. Cellular Mesmerizing. In addition to different names, these devices sported a custom design for each carrier. However, all these handsets offered similar functionality, with only the Epic 4G standing out from the crowd thanks to its 4G WiMAX connectivity and slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
In 2011, the Galaxy S2 was sold as the AT&T Galaxy S2, the T-Mobile Galaxy S2, the Sprint Epic 4G Touch and the U.S. Cellular Galaxy S2. While most carriers kept the original name of the product, only AT&T decided to stick with the default 4.3-inch screen size, while the other carriers opted for a larger 4.5-inch display. Furthermore, Sprint went ahead and asked for 4G WiMAX support to be added to the Epic 4G Touch, while Verizon chose not to launch a Galaxy S2 version, but wait for the Galaxy Nexus to arrive and enjoy a brief exclusivity of Google’s third-generation Nexus smartphone.
We already know that this year’s Galaxy S3 U.S. versions will have built-in 4G LTE support, but if the images we saw today are to be believed, then we expect little changes for these devices.
American buyers interested in getting the original GSM Galaxy S2 model – sans LTE support that is – can purchase the device from third-party retailers, such as Amazon, or enter our second Galaxy S3 competition for a chance to win the handset.