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Samsung Goes For Broke With Galaxy S Variants

Samsung has announced different versions of its Galaxy S series Android phone with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless

Samsung is looking to steal some of the limelight from Apple, it would appear. In the last five or so days, Samsung and five of its carrier partners have all announced their own custom version of the Galaxy S handset. Let's look at this device and the differences between all the carriers.

First, what features are the same across all five devices? They share Samsung's four-inch Super AMOLED display. Based on my experience, Samsung's Super AMOLED displays are among the brightest and sharpest around. They simply look stunning.

All Galaxy S variants 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.

All five will be among the first to ship with Bluetooth 3.0, which offers some unique features, such as high-speed data transfers between devices.

AT&T's Captivate has tri-band HSPA 3G on board and includes 16GB of internal storage. According to AT&T, it lacks a lot of the custom software that Samsung has developed for the Galaxy S. It also doesn't appear to have a front-facing camera.

Sprint's Epic 4G comes with WiMax, making it the second 4G phone for the Sprint network. Its other defining characteristic is that it is the only Galaxy S device with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for messaging. Sprint showed me the Epic 4G. Despite the addition of the keyboard, it is amazingly thin and light. The Super AMOLED technology goes a long way to help the Galaxy S family remain slim. It will be boxed with a 16GB microSD card, but doesn't appear to have the built-in storage that the Captivate from AT&T does. The Epic 4G will, however, come with a user-facing VGA camera and Qik's video sharing software. It will include Samsung's Social Hub and Media Hub to help users aggregate social networking and content.

T-Mobile's Vibrant has HSPA 3G inside and will be boxed with a 2GB microSD card. It lacks a user-facing camera, physical keyboard, and Samsung's Social Hub and Media Hub software. It will, however, be preloaded with the movie Avatar and a free month of Go-Go in-flight Wi-Fi service.

U.S. Cellular's version of the Galaxy S will simply be called the Galaxy S. That's OK. It comes with fewer features than its competitors do, such as no user-facing camera and no keyboard. It won't be boxed with a microSD card (according to what we know), which is actually kind of lame. This is the weakest version of the bunch when it comes to extra and/or defining features.

Verizon Wireless' Fascinate's biggest leg up on the competition is that it will come with mobile hotspot creator software on board, allowing the Fascinate to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices. It won't have a user-facing camera or a keyboard, but it is packed with Verizon applications. Some of the apps include V CAST Video, Rhapsody, VZ Navigator, as well as Samsung's Social Hub, Media Hub and support for DLNA content. It will be boxed with a 16GB microSD card, and supports cards up to 32GB.

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