The Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone is headed to the United States with five different wireless carriers competing to offer the device from the world’s top-shipping phone-maker. While full details are still a little unclear, it seems the Galaxy S III will retail starting at $199.
Indeed, Samsung is again showing off what it takes to be No. 1. Announcing the availability of its much-hyped Galaxy S III, it revealed it’s leaving no one out. The phone will be available from all four major U.S. carriers, as well as from U.S. Cellular.
Sprint and T-Mobile announced the news June 4 in their own releases the same day, each marking the GS III’s arrival date as June 21—a hint at what consumers might also expect from Verizon Wireless, ATT and U.S. Cellular. The 16GB version, in Marble White or Pebble Blue, will sell for $199.99. Sprint confirmed it will sell the 32GB version for $249.99.
The GS III features a 4.8-inch display, is 8.6mm thin, weighs 4.7 ounces, runs Android 4.0 and boasts a quad-core processor that enables a user to do things like shrink a video and—taking advantage of that tremendous screen—let it play up in the corner, while browsing the Web or using other apps.
The GS III also has the distinction of housing six sensors that help keep it attuned to a user. For example, a feature called Smart Stay, uses the front-facing camera to watch a user and, understanding when the display is being read, not let the screen go dark after a certain time. Or, ideally it does, anyway—at least one early reviewer found the phone to turn off with impunity, not caring that the user was reading something.
Announcing the phone’s availability, Samsung focused on a few other features, such as—as noted above—the phone’s sharing features. An AllShare Play service can alert the phone to Samsung HDTVs, tablets, laptops and other devices on the same network that can receive video files. An AllShare Group Cast service can let users on a WiFi network share and collaborate on a document, without each having to load the file.
ShareShot lets the GS III synch with selected devices up to 200 feet away—such as the phones of friends hanging out for the day—and then automatically share photos that include those friends. And finally, with an S-Beam feature, users can tap another GS III to share files without a WiFi or cellular signal. A 10MB music file can be shared in seconds, while a 1GB movie takes about three minutes, according to Samsung.
Making itself still more useful, the GS III also includes S-Voice. Somewhat like Apple’s Siri, it can answer questions—or again, ideally it can—as well as do things like take a picture when a user says, “Cheese!” or whatever their preferred word, as well as turn the music volume up or down, launch applications and similar things.
A motion function—again making use of those sensors—can do things like realize that, if a user stops texting mid-message and lifts the phone, he’s nixing the text for a call, and then facilitate that.
Given what will be the widespread availability of the smartphone, Sprint, in its press release, pointed out what it can add to the experience.
“Sprint is the only U.S. carrier to offer this device with the simplicity of unlimited data plans,” it said. “Our customers will appreciate being able to use the robust features and capabilities of this device without worrying about data caps, throttling or silly overage charges.”