Samsung is playing for keeps. The consumer electronics giant has just announced sales of its Samsung Galaxy S III flagship Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone for five U.S. carriers starting in June.
Sprint will start selling the Galaxy S III June 21 -- $199.99 for 16GB of storage, $249.99 for 32GB. T-Mobile will also receive its version on the 21st, but isn't yet releasing pricing. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular will all receive variations of the Galaxy S III this month. Verizon begins June 6 preorders for the white or "pebble blue" handset, which will be available in "the coming weeks" for the same price as Sprint.
For is part, AT&T will offer just the 16GB model, for $199.99, though AT&T will be the only carrier to offer the handset in red, in addition to the blue and white. Meanwhile, U.S. Cellular, the surprise carrier in the bunch, will release pricing information when the phone goes on sale June 12.
What's incredibly interesting (and what CNET had predicted) is that the U.S.-based version, like its HTC One X rival, will carry a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor as opposed to the 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor that's used in the global release.
The "downgrade" is likely due to a current incompatibility between the quad-core chip and LTE data networks, just as with the HTC One X, which forewent the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor that was used in the global version of its hero device.
If you're tempted to get huffy over your quad-core loss, keep in mind that Qualcomm's dual-core chip is plenty fast, and that quad-core performance claims aren't always what they seem.
The Galaxy S III is a slim handset with a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display. It supports 4G LTE and HSPA+ 42 speeds, has an 8-megapixel camera (hands on) with 1080p HD video capture and playback, and a bevy of software features to complement and enhance Android's Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.
Samsung has also given the Galaxy S III 2GB of RAM and a very large, removable 2100mAh battery.
Another nice touch, the Galaxy S III is topped with Gorilla Glass 2.0, a stronger, thinner type of the premium glass brand that Corning, Gorilla Glass' maker, unveiled this past January at CES.
Updated June 4 at 8:40 a.m. PT and at 2:55 p.m. PT with carrier release details.