When Samsung announced that its flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S, was arriving to every major American carrier, few were surprised at the unprecedented move. Most Android smartphones up until then had been relegated to one or two carriers. The Galaxy S is a smashing winner in homeland South Korea, selling over 300,000 units so far. Most prognosticators expect the world’s most powerful Android to hit it big in America (and Canada) too, but which version will come out on top? The Verizon Fascinate will be king because it is on the largest network with the best reputation, right? Not necessarily.
Verizon customers (89 million) are spoiled for choice. They have the ravishing HTC Droid Incredible (though limited in supply), Droid X, and the upcoming Droid 2.
AT&T’s vast user base (82 million) gets the exclusive iPhone 4, but the anti-Apple cult is growing - especially in light of “antenna gate” - but AT&T’s low public esteem will hurt it when time comes for subscribers to renew their contracts. The Captivate also has the most divergent design (aside from the Epic 4G) among the Galaxy S variations, so I consider it to be a bit of a wild card on a network that has a weak Android line-up.
Sprint’s relatively small (48.3 million) subscriber list is even tinier when non WiMAX cities are excluded. Only those who have access to 4G will contemplate getting the Epic 4G, although its greatest asset is its unique slide-out keypad that the others lack.
T-Mobile is an underdog because it has a middling reputation and is the smallest of the big four (33.4 million), but it has proven that it can move Android phones in the past –and at absurdly high prices. Despite possessing a number of Android devices, the Vibrant is the carrier’s only high end model.
The battle will be waged furiously this summer, as each carrier will have to race against the others to bring out FroYo. In the end, the winners are Samsung and the consumer.