Since launching in May, Samsung’s Galaxy S II has been the company’s fastest selling smartphone, even without availability in the smartphone-crazed U.S. That situation is changing as Samsung announced a version for Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile earlier this month. Sprint’s edition is already for sale while T-Mobile hasn’t yet announced availability and AT&T is launching the Galaxy S II on Oct. 2.
I nabbed an early review unit of AT&T’s Galaxy S II yesterday afternoon and immediately gave the handset a once over with a photo gallery. My general first impression: If you like Google Android and have or want an AT&T account, this smartphone should be at the top of your list.
The 4.3-inch display is so vibrant that I tweeted this last night: “Super AMOLED Plus gives new life to old “Cheers” episodes on Netflix.” Samsung’s dual-core processor makes this phone one of the fastest Android devices I’ve ever used. And even in my rural area where mobile broadband coverage is sketchy, I saw HSPA+ download speeds nearing 5 Mbps. I’ll have a full review forthcoming, but so far, I’m very impressed.
Also forthcoming is Amazon’s tablet entry, which will be based on Google Android. Amazon is expected to launch the device in the fourth quarter and it’s likely that next week will see the tablet introduced, due to a planned press event for an unknown product. Amazon has reportedly ordered monthly production of 800,000 such tablets; if true, the company should have plenty on hand after launch, even if the Kindle tablet proves extremely popular.
Based on an early hands-on look at a prototype, it’s pretty much a given that those familiar with Android won’t see a trace of it on Amazon’s tablet. The slate will use a heavily customized user interface that may limit what the device can, and can’t, do as compared to other tablets on the market. Surely it will support Amazon media offerings such as Kindle books, Amazon’s MP3 store, and likely Amazon’s Unbox video service. One open question I have is if Amazon’s AppStore will be supported for third-party Android software; my suspicion is yes, either at launch or through a future software update.
One app that received an update this week was Hulu Plus. The video subscription client was previously supported on just a handful of Android smartphones, but the list of compatible devices was updated this week. The HTC Flyer tablet in addition to the LG’s GX2 and Revolution, plus Motorola’s Bionic, Droid X2 and Droid 3 have all been added to the support list. The software is free but requires a monthly service fee of $7.99 to watch television programming on your Android smartphone or tablet.