updated 10:45 am EDT, Fri August 12, 2011
Samsung invites us to Galaxy S II intro in US
Samsung on Friday sent invites to Electronista and other members of the media to a special event in New York City. The August 29 evening gathering talks only of a "major product announcement" but has a conspicuous "II" label, making it clear the event is for the US release of the Galaxy S II. More details would be coming soon, Samsung said.
The strategy for the launch is expected to repeat the pattern Samsung used for last year, when it coordinated a release through virtually every major US carrier that saw each making their own customizations and shipping within a few weeks. All will get Galaxy S II branding but their own, custom names.
The most advanced version is expected to be Verizon's, which will carry LTE-based 4G and might be called the Stratosphere. T-Mobile's version, the Hercules, may be the next-closest as it will have 'just' 42Mbps HSPA+ but carry a larger 4.5-inch screen. Sprint's version will carry WiMAX under the Epic 4G Touch, while AT&T may or may not have a slider version.
All of them should share the dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos processor that makes the Galaxy S II the current smartphone speed champion as well as a Super AMOLED Plus screen that eliminates many of the weaknesses of last year's display. An eight-megapixel back camera and a two-megapixel front camera are known to carry across the new models.
The timing of the unveiling supports beliefs that Samsung is in a race to beat the iPhone 5 to market. Samsung gained a large foothold in the US with the original Galaxy S but was hurt by shipping after the iPhone 4, losing a lot of its momentum. Whether or not it beats Apple depends both on Apple's as yet unconfirmed schedule as well as carriers' ability to ship on time. Last year, certain versions didn't ship until as late as the fall.
The Korean company is also probably eager to chalk up some sales before the risk of Apple winning a trade ban decision in October that could cut off the Galaxy S II just weeks after it goes on sale.