updated 03:05 pm EDT, Thu August 25, 2011
Verizon turns down Samsung Galaxy S II
Verizon won't be among the US carriers picking up the Samsung Galaxy S II in what could be an unintentional win for Apple, the network said on Thursday. While AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all known to be locked in for September, the largest US CDMA carrier will be turning it down. What reason wasn't given by spokeswoman Brenda Raney to the WSJ; she instead tried to focus on the existing lineup.
"We have an extensive portfolio that offers customers a great variety of devices, including the Samsung Droid Charge," she said, alluding to the 4G phone based on the original Galaxy S.
The provider will still have halo Android phones for the season, including the dual-core Motorola Droid Bionic, but the omission is still conspicuous. Verizon was onboard last year with Samsung for the Fascinate and carried it for most of the past year, suggesting it was happy enough with sales.
One possibility, though not at all confirmed, is a concern over what software Verizon is allowed to use. Verizon opted to force the use of Bing on the initial version of the Fascinate, tucking or removing the regular Google search tools away as part of a deal with Microsoft. Google has certain requirements for use of its search tools with certain Android licenses and might have objected otherwise.
Verizon also depends much less on Android for its smartphone success than it did just a year ago. It activated 2.3 million iPhones in the spring, or twice as many devices as its entire 4G Android and modem lineup combined. Many attributed carrier eagerness for the Galaxy S last year to a lack of obvious iPhone rivals that was giving AT&T the upper hand.
Apple is likely to thrive on the decision. The iPhone 5 is expected to ship in October and would arrive unopposed by Samsung in any meaningful capacity. AT&T has never seen an Android phone outsell an iPhone, possibly muting the effect of its own model, while the sizes of Sprint and T-Mobile will reduce Samsung's impact even if the iPhone were a non-factor.
Samsung is already the second-largest smartphone maker in the world and can credit a significant part of that to a wave of successful phones in the US, such as Galaxy S variants on virtually every carrier.