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U.S. carriers reveal some plans for Samsung Galaxy S III

The smartphone will be available from five carriers in June; pricing is expected to be $200-$250

The new 4.8-in. Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone will be available from five U.S. carriers in June. Each of the carriers has a slightly different timetable for rolling it out.

The Galaxy S III smartphone from Samsung.

Samsung said Monday that pricing for the 16 GB version will start at $199 plus a two-year contract.

Sprint and T-Mobile separately announced sales of the device would begin on June 21, though only Sprint disclosed its pricing plans -- $199.99 for the 16 GB version, and $249.99 for the 32 GB version. Most analysts expect the major carriers to have the same price schedule.

Verizon said it will start taking pre-orders on June 6, and that its pricing will be the same as Sprint's. However, as for availability, Verizon would only say in the "coming weeks."

AT&T didn't announce any pricing or release dates, with a spokeswoman saying those details would be announced soon.

U.S. Cellular said it will begin pre-sales on June 12, and actual sales in July, but didn't announce pricing plans.

The big change for the U.S.version of the Android 4.0-based Galaxy S III is its dual-core processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, which is clocked at 1.5 GHz.

The European version of the device runs the quad-core ARM Cortex A9, which is clocked at 1.3 GHz. Samsung announced the quad-core version in London on May 3.

The Snapdragon, with the Krait version of the Spapdragon architecture, runs at the same speeds as the ARM chip because Snapdragon is better optimized for 4G networks in the U.S.

All five U.S. carriers offering the phone are building LTE 4G networks or have HSPA+ networks. Average download speeds are in excess of 10 Mbps across all the carriers for these 4G networks.

The 4.8-in. Galaxy S III touchscreen is significantly larger than the 4.3-in. display in the predecessor Galaxy S II.

By comparison, the latest iPhone 4S has a 3.5-in. touchscreen. Apple is said to be readying a next-generation iPhone for later this year that has a 4-in. or larger touchscreen.

The 4.8-in. touchscreen has an HD Super Amoled display with 1280 x 720 pixels, Samsung said at the London event. That makes the overall screen size 22% larger than the Galaxy S II.

The total Galaxy S III device is not that much bigger than the previous model because the black bezel area around the screen has been reduced, Samsung said. Overall, the Galaxy S III is 4.7ounces and 8.6 mm (.34 in.) in thickness.

Samsung Galaxy S III, available in white and blue, has an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.9-in. front facing camera. It has a 2,100 mAh battery, bigger than most.

The new device features gesture and voice recognition capabilities, and new S-Beam transfer technology to move a 1 GB file in three minutes between two Galaxy S III smartphones. A special Smart Stay technology tracks a user's eyes to make sure the device screen stays on when a user is looking at it.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.


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