Samsung Galaxy S III (CDMA)
FreedomPop today expanded its smartphone roster to include several high-end Samsung handsets. Beginning today, FreedomPop customers can choose from the Samsung Galaxy Victory, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy S III to access LTE service. FreedomPop, an MVNO that offers free and low-cost service, is marking the availability of these devices as its official jump from Sprint's WiMAX 4G network to Sprint's LTE 4G network. In addition to the new phones, FreedomPop announced a new $20 plan that includes unlimited voice and text, and 1GB of 4G speeds (throttled to 3G speeds thereafter). Last, FreedomPop is making its FreedomPop Free Voice and Text application available to Android-based devices. The app provides any Android device with free voice, text, and voicemail. FreedomPop is pitching the app as a potential source of savings for Android users stuck in contracts with other providers. For example, it suggests Android owners downgrade their contract plan and make use of its app instead. FreedomPop Free Voice and Text is already available to the iPhone. Pricing of the new handsets wasn't immediately available.
Sprint today said it will update a handful of its Samsung smartphones to Android 4.4 KitKat. The company is already pushing KitKat to the Galaxy S4 and Note 3, but will also deliver updates to the Galaxy Note II, GS4 mini, GS III, Galaxy Mega, and Galaxy Tab 3 7.0. According to Sprint, the update includes the standard check list of KitKat goodies, and also adds a new lockscreen shortcut to the camera. The timing of the updates will vary by device.
Samsung today announced the GamePad, a gaming accessory for its Android smartphones. The GamePad resembles a gaming control unit from today's living room gaming consoles. It supports a number of Samsung smartphones, cradling devices with screens ranging from 4 inches to 6.3 inches. It connects to smartphones via Bluetooth and an associated application. The GamePad provides physical controls for games, and connects to TVs through an HDMI cable or AllShare Screen Mirroring. The GamePad requires Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Samsung recommends it be used with devices such as the Galaxy S III and S4, and the Note II and Note 3. The GamePad includes support for NFC for easy device pairing. The Mobile Console app for the GamePad is available for download through the Samsung App store. The Samsung GamePad is launching first in European markets with others to follow in the coming weeks. Samsung has not shared specific plans to offer the GamePad in the U.S. yet.
Samsung today announced that its older smartphones can now interact with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Specifically, the Android 4.3 system update, which is being pushed out to some devices in other countries, enables compatibility between the Gear and the Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II. A separate, non-system level update will be delivered to the Galaxy S4 mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 zoom that enables the Gear. This separate update will be pushed out beginning later this month. Timing for each device will vary by country and carrier.
C Spire Wireless today launched its next-generation push-to-talk service for business customers. The PTT service runs on Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G LTE data connections and provides sub-second call set-up times, support for larger contact databases, and business-class security to protect companies. C Spire's new PTT service is managed by Kodiak, which also powers AT&T's PTT service. C Spire is offering a selection of older handsets with the service, including the Samsung Galaxy S II and S III, the BlackBerry Bold Touch and Curve, and the Unimax 680. C Spire's PTT service costs $6 per month when added to an existing voice plan, or $30 per month for PTT-only plans. C Spire's new PTT service follows the recent shut-down of Sprint's iDEN network.
Cricket Wireless today made several announcements regarding phone financing, Musive Music 4.0, and new device availability. The first bit of news concerns how customers purchase phones. Cricket will offer flexible payment financing options that allow customers to pay for devices over time. There are three financing options. The first requires a 4% downpayment on a new device plus a minimum monthly payment of 4% of the device's retail cost. This plan does not charge extra financing fees. The second option requires a 5% downpayment on a new device plus a minimum monthly payment of 5% of the device's retail cost. This plan does not include extra financing costs if paid in full within six months. The last plan, which does not require a credit check, requires an 8% downpayment on a new device and offers a same-as-cash price for hardware paid off in 90 days. The Samsung Galaxy S4, for example, would require a downpayment of $26 at 4%, $32.50 at 5%, and $52 at 8% (based on the full retail cost of $649). The new Muve Music 4.0 makes major changes to the user interface and speed of the app. It has a new sidebar for accessing all the app's features, and allows for instant streaming of songs. Further, Muve Music will cache music on internal memory or regular microSD cards rather than the special Muve Music-compatible cards that were previously required. Muve Music 4.0 will first be available on the Samsung Galaxy S III, the GS4, Admire 2, and Discover, with other devices to follow later this year. Last, Cricket announced availability of the Samsung Galaxy Admire 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Discover. The Admire 2 is a mid-range Android phone with 4G LTE, 4-inch display, 5-megapixel camera, memory card slot, and Samsung's TouchWiz interface. The Galaxy Discover is a basic Android phone with a 3.5-inch display, 3-megapixel camera, memory card slot, and stock Android 4.0 interface. All the new programs go into effect July 21, which is also when the new phones will be available in Cricket stores.
Boost Mobile today announced that it will offer the Samsung Galaxy S III with LTE on board beginning June 12. The GSIII costs $399.99 but does not require a contract. It can be paired with Boost's $55 monthly plan with shrinking payments.
Verizon Wireless has published the details of a system update that will soon be made available to the Samsung Galaxy S III. Among the many new features being prepped for last year's device is the split-screen multitasking mode available to Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Note/Note II devices. Other enhancements include fixes for the mobile hotspot function, the lockscreen, and USB tethering; new features for the camera, including Best Shot; improvements to the menu customization features; and better tools to manage photos and galleries. The system update will be pushed out over the air in the weeks ahead.
U.S. Cellular has indicated that its variant of the Samsung Galaxy S III will be updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean beginning Friday, December 21. The update will be delivered over the air, but can also be downloaded and installed via PC.
Samsung today provided information about a software update for the Galaxy S III. The Premium Suite is an add-on that includes a handful of new features such as a split-screen mode similar to the one on the Galaxy Note II. This will let the GSIII operate two different apps at the same time, each appearing in its own window on the display. Other features of the Premium Suite include better control over browser font size, contextual awareness (opens music app when headphones are plugged in, etc.), and easier photo sharing via NFC. The Premium Suite is being rolled out to devices in other markets around the world first. U.S. carriers have not indicated when they might make the update available to their own customers.
MetroPCS today indicated that its joyn service can now be used on a wider range of its Android handsets. The service initially launched on the Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G. It now also works on the Samsung Galaxy S III and S Lightray 4G; the LG Connect 4G and Motion 4G; the ZTE Anthem 4G; and the Coolpad Quattro 4G. Joyn is a standards-based Android application that collects and merges messaging services, such as IM and SMS. The app lets users conduct threaded text conversations and supports presence, which lets users know when their friends are available. It also makes it easier to share photo and video content when the user is on an active phone call (this is traditionally not possible on CDMA-based devices). Last, it lets MetroPCS customers make voice and video calls to other joyn users via Wi-Fi.
Apple has filed a request with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in an attempt to add six more Samsung devices to an existing lawsuit against the Korean company. The new devices are the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Rugby Pro, and Galaxy III Mini, as well as the Galaxy Tab 8.9 WiFi and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Apple alleges that these newer devices infringe on many of the same patents it accused Samsung of violating in a lawsuit it filed in February of this year. Apple said that if it isn't allowed to add these device to the existing case, it will be required to file an entirely new lawsuit. This is a separate case from the one that delivered a guilty verdict against Samsung in August of this year.
Cricket Wireless today announced a significant expansion of its nascent LTE 4G network. Its 4G service is already available in Las Vegas and Tucson. Those markets are joined today by Philadelphia, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Laredo, Corpus Christi, and the Brownsville-McAllen-Harlingen area of Texas. Cricket says this expansion ups its LTE coverage to 21 million POPs. The company also launched two new LTE smartphones, the LG Optimus Regard and the Samsung Galaxy S III. The Regard is available starting today for $249.99. The GSIII will launch in several weeks, and will cost $549.99. Cricket's new LTE plans start at $50 per month and include unlimited talk and text, and 2GB of 3G and/or 4G data.
Cricket today announced the addition of two Android smartphones to its lineup. The LG Optimus Regard is a rebadged version of the LG Motion 4G, which is sold by MetroPCS. The Regard features a 3.5-inch display with 480 x 320 pixels, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel main camera, and VGA user-facing camera. It ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is the first smartphone to support Cricket's LTE 4G network. It is available starting today online and in stores for $249.99. Cricket also said the Samsung Galaxy S III will be available in the coming weeks. It will cost $549.99.
Sprint today announced that it is making the Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update available to the Samsung Galaxy S III. The system update adds Google Now and Android Beam, makes numerous improvements to the camera application, updates home screen widget behavior, and also tweaks the LTE functionality of the GSIII. The update is being delivered in waves starting today. It can be downloaded and installed over the air.
U.S. Cellular announced plans to increase the availability of its phones through a distribution deal with Walmart. Consumers can now purchase U.S. Cellular phones at 460 Walmart stores around the country. U.S. Cellular said that the Samsung Galaxy S III, Chrono 2, and Freeform 4, as well as the Huawei Ascend II will be some of the phones available at Walmart stores. Customers who activate a U.S. Cellular postpaid plan at a Walmart store will be eligible for rewards, such as early device upgrades and discounts on certain services.
Google today announced that its Google Wallet mobile payment service is now available on devices sold by MetroPCS. Specifically, the NFC-based platform can now be used to make tap-and-go mobile payments with the Samsung Galaxy S III. The news was announced via one of Google's official twitter accounts. It comes on the day Isis, a competitive mobile payment offering from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, launched its first trial markets.
MetroPCS today announced the pending availability of the Samsung Galaxy S III. The device will be available in select stores beginning this weekend, and in all stores and online by October 22. It includes all the same features available on other variants of the device, and supports MetroPCS's LTE 4G network. The MetroPCS version of the Galaxy S III is sold without a contract and costs $499. Service plans range from $30 to $70 per month.
Samsung today announced that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be made available to all U.S. variants of the Galaxy S III in the coming months. The update will be provided both over-the-air and via Samsung's Kies desktop software. Timing for the update, however, will be up to Samsung's individual carrier partners. The GS3 is sold by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. So far, none has said exactly when Jelly Bean will become available. Samsung said that the Android 4.1 update will make improvements to the camera, add an Easy Mode for first-time smartphone owners, add the Swype keyboard, and make it easier to block calls/numbers. These new features are in addition to those that come with the Jelly Bean operating system, which include Google Now, improved notifications, adjustbale widgets, and others.
U.S. Cellular today indicated that its LTE 4G network has grown steadily this year and now covers 30% of its cellular footprint. U.S. Cellular also said that it expects 58% of its cellular footprint will have LTE 4G coverage by the end of the year. The company has 7,932 cell towers operating, 4,512 of which are company owned. U.S. Cellular offers a handful of LTE 4G devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S Aviator.
MVNO Ting announced that customers interested in the Samsung Galaxy S III may preorder it from Ting's web site starting today. Ting resells Sprint's wireless services, and had announced plans to carry LTE-capable devices earlier this year. The Samsung Galaxy S III will be Ting's first LTE device. Ting is asking $529 for the 16GB version and $579 for the 32GB version. Both the 16GB and 32GB will be available in Pebble Blue and Marble White. According to Ting, the Galaxy S III will ship in three to six weeks. Ting also noted that it will select two of the first 200 customers who order the Galaxy S III at random to receive the device for free.
Samsung today provided an explanation of sorts for recent system updates sent to U.S. versions of the Galaxy S III. Both the Sprint and AT&T variants of the GS3 have been updated in recent days with a patch that removes the Universal Search function -- a feature for which Apple has an existing patent. "Samsung has updated the software for the Galaxy S III as a precautionary measure to ensure that U.S. consumers may enjoy using our innovative products without interruption," said Samsung in a statement provided to Phone Scoop. Further, Samsung said that this statement does not yet apply to the T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless versions of the GS3. Those two variants have not received updates removing the Universal Search function, and it's not clear if or when they will.
Sprint today confirmed reports that a minor system update being distributed to the Samsung Galaxy S III device deactivates one of the features. "The new software update does disable the universal search function on Galaxy S III," said a Sprint spokesperson to Phone Scoop via email. The update also included a security patch. The universal search function is one of the features behind the Apple-Samsung lawsuit patents. It allows device owners to search not only the web, but also the device itself for items from a single search bar. Apple holds a patent for this feature. Sprint said Samsung, not Sprint, was responsible for removing universal search from the Galaxy S III.
U.S. Cellular today announced that the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone will be available via its web site starting July 11, and it should be in stores by the end of the week. The Samsung Galaxy S III costs $199.99 for the 16GB version and $249.99 for the 32GB version. U.S. Cellular is requiring users to submit a $100 mail-in rebate in order to reach those price points.
Sprint indicated via its support forums that it is delivering an over-the-air system update to the Galaxy S III. The update bolsters the device's security. It will be pushed to the device once it is successfully activated.
Sprint today provided an update on the status of its Samsung Galaxy S III availability. It will go on sale beginning Sunday, July 1. Sprint will sell the 16GB version for $199.99 and 32GB version for $249.99 with a new contract. The Galaxy S III will be sold at Sprint Stores, via Sprint Business Sales, telesales, and Sprint's web site. The 32GB version will not be available at stores, and must be ordered directly.
Samsung has partnered with Media Mushroom to offer a content-porting app called Easy Phone Sync. The tool allows PC or Mac users of iOS devices such as the iPhone or iPad to easily transfer iTunes content to a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. In order for transfers to work, users must install the app on their computer as well as the Galaxy smartphone. The transfers require a USB cable. In addition to music and movies, Easy Phone Sync will transfer contact data, messages, and photos. Both the mobile and desktop clients are available for free.
Sprint today said that it cannot launch sales of the Samsung Galaxy S III via select sales channels on June 21 as originally planned. The company said the cause for the delay is due to overwhelming demand for the device. Samsung apparently has not been able to ship enough devices to meet Sprint's inventory requirements. Sprint noted that some preorders of the 16GB version will be delivered by June 21, but deliveries of the 32GB version have been delayed. "We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate the patience of our customers as we work through this minor delay in availability," said Sprint in a statement. "We know they are eager to experience the next generation of the Samsung Galaxy series... Should this situation change, we will continue to update this post as we have new information to share."
Samsung today announced that it will sell the SAFE Galaxy S III, a business-ready version of the Galaxy S III Android smartphone, via AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. SAFE stands for "Samsung Approved for Enterprise." The SAFE Galaxy S III includes business-friendly features such as IT policy support, AES-256 bit encryption, expanded business features of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and support for virtual private networks and mobile device management tools. In addition to the SAFE-branded Galaxy S III, Samsung is also offering potential business customers a trade-up program called SAFE2SWITCH, which provides "competitive pricing" for devices that are traded in and/or recycled when purchasing a SAFE Galaxy S III. The SAFE-branded Galaxy S III will be available from the above U.S. carriers by July. Samsung didn't say if pricing for the SAFE Galaxy S III would differ from the retail version being sold to consumers. Samsung already offers a SAFE variant of the Galaxy Note.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh earlier this week squashed Apple's move to prevent Samsung from launching the Galaxy S III in the U.S. on time. Apple had requested an emergency court order to block the S III based on patent complaints. The judge said Apple's request would put too much pressure on her court's calendar. Koh is overseeing the Apple-versus-Samsung trial that is set to get under way next month.
Samsung today announced the availability of TecTiles, small, programmable near-field communication stickers that can be used to activate certain actions on NFC-equipped smartphones. Using a separate Android application, the tags can be programmed to change device settings, such as join a Wi-Fi network or set the phone to silent; to initiate communications, such as a text message or a phone call; as well as to interact with social networking sites, such as to set Facebook status updates or send a message to Twitter. Users hold the phone against the tag, and it registers with a quick vibration, letting the user know that the phone read the tag. The TecTile tags can be programmed multiple times. The TecTiles work with a number of Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S III on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon; the Galaxy S II on T-Mobile; Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, Sprint and global; the Nexus S 4G on Sprint; and the Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-Mobile. The TecTiles are sold in packs of five for $14.99, and can be purchased at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless retail stores. The TecTile Android application is available for download from the Google Play Store.
C Spire Wireless today announced that it will sell the Samsung Galaxy S III, complete with LTE 4G, later this year. Exact pricing and availability will be shared in the coming weeks. C Spire Plans to launch LTE in 20 Mississippi markets in September, after which it will gradually expand is LTE footprint.
U.S. Cellular today indicated that its variant of the Samsung Galaxy S III will sell for $199 and $249 for the 16GB and 32GB versions, respectively. U.S. Cellular, unlike the other carriers, is requiring a $100 rebate in order for consumers to achieve the $199 and $249 price points. A two-year contract is required. Customers can preorder the device starting June 12, though it won't ship until some time in July.
Apple has filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission to prevent Samsung's Galaxy S III from entering the country. Apple believes the device violates its intellectual property. Samsung vowed to fight Apple's newest salvo in the smartphone patent wars and said in a statement that it will "demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S III is innovative and distinctive." Apple wants to block the device before it goes on sale, but Samsung believes the device will launch on schedule. It can already be pre-ordered from several U.S. carriers and is expected to reach store shelves in the coming weeks.
Sprint and T-Mobile USA today announced that the Samsung Galaxy S III will be available online and in stores starting June 21. Both carriers will sell the white and blue colors in 16GB and 32GB variants for $199 and $249, respectively. The Sprint variant will include Google Wallet for mobile payments. Sprint will open preorders for the S III June 5. T-Mobile has not yet announced if or when the S III will be available for preorder.
Samsung today announced that the Galaxy S III will become available from five major U.S. carriers starting later this month. It will be sold by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. All five versions will feature the same design and use the same name. Additionally, the versions to be sold it the U.S. skip the quad-core Exynos chip and will instead use Qualcomm's dual-core 1.5 GHz S4 Snapdragon processor. Samsung said that pricing will start at $199, though each carrier will set its own pricing. Exact availability will be announced in the coming weeks by the individual carriers.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy S III, its global flagship phone for 2012. We spent a bit of time with it. Read on for our first impressions of the hardware and the impressive software, plus photos and video of this sexy phone.