Verizon customers eagerly awaiting the carrier’s Galaxy S entry, the Samsung Fascinate, can finally start ordering the Android device online starting tomorrow for $199 with a two-year contract (after a $100 rebate). It will hit retail stores starting September 9.
With the Fascinate’s release, Samsung’s Galaxy S line of smartphones is finally available across all major U.S. carriers. AT&T has the Samsung Captivate, and T-Mobile has the Vibrant. On August 31, the Epic 4G (the only 4G-equipped Galaxy S device) landed on Sprint.
All of the phones share the same basic specifications — including a 1 gigahertz Hummingbird Samsung processor, 4″ Super AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel camera, and Android 2.1 with Samsung’s TouchWiz skin — but each has its own hardware and software customizations for its specific carrier. Sprint’s Epic 4G, for example, features a slide-out physical keyboard and a front-facing camera for video conferencing.
At Samsung’s New York launch event a few months ago, I spent some time testing out the Fascinate. Upon picking up the phone I quickly realized that Samsung wasn’t kidding about the quality of its Super AMOLED screen. It’s brighter and sharper than traditional OLED displays, like those on the Nexus One and Evo 4G, and it’s also built to perform better in sunlight. The 4-inch display noticeably dwarfed my iPhone 4. Performance-wise, the Fascinate was the most responsive Android phone I’ve used so far. Touchscreen interaction like swiping and pinching was fast and smooth, applications loaded quickly, and there was none of the sluggishness I’ve seen when testing the Evo 4G.
Samsung recently announced that it has sold 1 million Galaxy S phones across T-Mobile and AT&T over 45 days. It’s uncertain how well the Fascinate will sell on Verizon, since it’s already well-stocked with powerful Android devices like the Droid X, Droid 2, and Droid Incredible. But while it may be a tough sell for Samsung, the release of the Fascinate is good news for Google since it means there’s yet another high-end Android device on the market.