One major question about the impending release of the Galaxy S III has been answered: The Samsung superphone will arrive in the United States on all of the major U.S. carriers, according to a Samsung press release.
That means customers on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular will all be able to buy a Galaxy S3 when it is released later this June, a first for major smartphone launches in America.
Samsung did not announce prices or a firm U.S. release date, though in separate announcements, Verizon said that it would begin taking pre-orders on June 6th, and that the GS3 would cost $199 with a new two-year contract, while T-Mobile will make the Galaxy S III available on June 21. Sprint has also revealed its plans, announcing Galaxy S III availability for $199 (16GB version) on contract on June 21.
The Galaxy S III is one of the most anticipated smartphone launches of 2012, with worldwide pre-orders topping nine million, as of mid-May. The smartphone has since become available for purchase in several European and Asian countries, with American GS3 fans forced to wait for their country's model.
The wait, it appears, will be short, with Samsung promising an initial release date some time in June. The Galaxy S III boasts some impressive specs: Android 4.0 a.k.a "Ice Cream Sandwich"; 2GB of RAM; 4G LTE capability; a huge 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display. One of the most highly anticipated features won't be making the journey to America, however: The Samsung press release specifies a dual-core processor, meaning that yet another smartphone with a quad-core processor in its global model will receive the dialed-down dual-core processor in its U.S. version.
Otherwise, look for all the neat sharing and voice capabilities advertised at the Galaxy S III unveiling event from May: S-Voice, a Siri competitor; Smart Stay, which can turn off the phone's display when the user is not looking at it; and S-Beam, which allows GS3 owners to quickly share files with each other without a cellular connection.
If you're on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, or U.S. Cellular, it looks like you'll be able to try those features out for yourself pretty soon. Stay tuned for more updates on the American availability, as each carrier has been updating their plans throughout the morning.
A full list of what we think are the coolest Galaxy S III features can be found below.
4.8-Inch Super AMOLED Display
The screen is huge, up from 4.3 inches on the Galaxy S II. A 4.8 inch screen makes it one of the largest displays on a flagship phone there is. Compare with HTC's One X (4.7 inches), the Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx (4.3 inches), and Apple's iPhone 4S (3.5 inches). The resolution is 1280x720.
Samsung introduces 'S Voice' on the Galaxy S III. To wake the phone up and activate the voice sensor, you simply say "Hi Galaxy!" and the phone wakes up; no need to push a button. Other voice commands, in addition to the stock ones in the Google Voice Actions catalogue: Using your voice, you can launch the camera and take a photo, turn the volume up and down, snooze the alarm (say "Snooze" as your alarm is going off -- dangerous!), and send texts and emails.
If you're writing a text to someone, and then you raise the phone to your ear, the GS3 launches the telephone app and automatically calls the person you were texting.
The Galaxy S III comes with an NFC chip that allows you to "bump" information like photos or video to other Galaxy S III owners by touching phones together, using a combination of the NFC technology and Wi-Fi Direct. With All-Share Cast, you can beam your screen to any DLNA-compatible television; All-Share Cast also allows you to share your screen onto anyone else's smartphone for document collaboration.
Pop Up Play
"Pop up play" will allow you to play a video anywhere on the screen while also performing other tasks, like checking your email or responding to texts. You can make the video window as large or small as you want. Here, you can see a YouTube video playing toward the bottom of the screen while a demonstrator prepares to search Google.
The Galaxy S III's 8 megapixel camera comes with burst photography: Holding down the shutter will take twenty photos in a row; you can then choose the best photo and the phone will automatically erase the other 19. A similar function exists on the HTC One line of phones. An alternate function: The Burst camera can take 8 photos in a row and then automatically choose the best one, if you're too indecisive to choose on your own.
Buddy Photo Share
The photography software comes with smart facial recognition: When you take a picture of a friend, it can recognize their face and will prompt you to send that photo to that person's phone or email address.
Essentially an eye recognition technology, the GS3 can sense when you are and are not looking it: When you are looking at your screen, the display will stay illuminated; when you stop looking at your phone, the display goes dark to save power. The feature can be toggled on and off, if you prefer to just let your screen time out.
Here's the first commercial for the Galaxy S III. At least, we think it's advertising the Galaxy S III. It might also be advertising a soap opera or Zach Braff film of some kind.