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?

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