Summary:

As expected, Samsung plans to introduce the hot-selling Galaxy S II to a U.S. audience next week at an event in New York. But New York’s own…

Samsung Galaxy S Ii

As expected, Samsung plans to introduce the hot-selling Galaxy S II to a U.S. audience next week at an event in New York. But New York’s own wireless carrier won’t be playing ball: Verizon is passing on Samsung’s latest Android phone, according to a report.

A Samsung representative confirmed to the Wall Street Journal Thursday that the Galaxy S II will launch next week for U.S. customers, but those pesky “people familiar with the plans” told the WSJ that only three of the four major wireless carriers are on board: AT&T (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: S), and T-Mobile. Verizon’s absence is a bit surprising, considering how much the carrier has embraced Android in general and Samsung in particular as one of the rising powers in the Android world.

Samsung sold 5 million Galaxy S II phones in the first 85 days the phone was on the market, and it’s considered the best Android phone to date. Verizon’s reluctance may be tied in part to anticipated demand for the iPhone 5, which is likely to arrive within the next six weeks and might be a pivotal moment for iPhone owners fed up with AT&T but unwilling to buy the iPhone 4 when it became available earlier this year.

However, with AT&T (assuming nothing has changed) and Sprint (reportedly) also poised to carry the iPhone 5, it’s a little surprising that Verizon wouldn’t be willing to diversify its product lineup with the best Android phone currently on the market. Of course, the wheels keep turning among Android partners, and with the Ice Cream Sandwich version poised to launch later this year, Verizon could have an exclusive line on some of the launch devices that accompany that release.

Also, BGR reported that Samsung and Verizon will hook up on a “similar” device to the Galaxy S II that may be a very close copy with different branding.

The report also said that Samsung and its carrier partners plan to sell the device for $199 with a two-year contract, which is pretty much the standard price for a smartphone these days.

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