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7/8/2010
02:11 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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AT&T Launching Samsung Captivate July 18 For $199

Not interested in the iPhone 4? Samsung and AT&T are hoping you'll take a look at Samsung's new AMOLED-packing flagship Android phone, the Galaxy S Captivate, instead.

At least five cellular network operators are launching the Galaxy S Android handset from Samsung later this summer. Based on today's news, it appears as though AT&T will be the first out the gate with the Captivate, which goes on sale July 18 for the price of $199 (same as iPhone 4 16GB).

The Galaxy S will also be offered by Sprint as the Epic 4G, by T-Mobile as the Vibrant, by U.S. Cellular as the Galaxy S, and by Verizon Wireless as the Fascinate. None of AT&T's competitors have announced pricing or availability dates yet.

AT&T is doing at least one customer-friendly thing when the Captivate goes on sale: It is offering the Captivate at the advertised $199 price point without a mail-in rebate. Mail-in rebates have become the bane of mobile handset pricing. Customers hate them, and network operators rely on the forgetfulness of their own customers to keep the sale price higher than advertised.

Best Buy has taken to skipping the mail-in rebates. Customers wise enough to buy from Best Buy don't have to deal with the hassle, and get the lower price point up front. Perhaps AT&T's move is to make sure customers buy from AT&T retail shops rather than Best Buy? Either way, customers win.

What features does the AT&T Captivate include? It will pack Samsung's four-inch Super AMOLED display, same as all the Galaxy S variants.. Based on my experience, Samsung's Super AMOLED displays are among the brightest and sharpest around. They simply look stunning. The Captivate will also include Samsung's 1GHz A8 Cortex Hummingbird processor; Android 2.1 operating system with TouchWiz 3.0; 5 megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture; 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; and Swype software for the on-screen soft QWERTY keyboard. It will also be among the first to ship with Bluetooth 3.0, which offers some unique features, such as high-speed data transfers between devices.

The Captivate will come with 16GB of internal storage for media. I haven't seen mention of an additional microSD card slot, nor does the Captivate have the front-facing camera for video chats that the Epic 4G for Sprint has.

Any way you look at it, the Captivate is a solid smartphone.

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