The Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the most anticipated mobiles of this year. In its announced configuration it is very impressive, but millions of US fans may not get the chance to see it this way thanks to carrier customization.
Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3: How will carriers customize them?
Whenever a new phone comes out carriers have the option of carrying the device or not. If they do then it is inevitable that they will make changes to the software and hardware, the casing and some even change the name of the phone. This is especially apparent when it comes to US variants. For instance when carriers took on the original Galaxy S in the US, with T-Mobile it was known as the Vibrant, Sprint called it the Epic 4G and on Verizon Wireless it was the Fascinate. Each and every one of these had changes made to the chassis with Sprint taking things to the extreme with a sliding keyboard.
The same happened with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S2, however there was only a slight shift in the rebranding. T-Mobile sold the device with the original name of the Galaxy S2 as did AT&T, again Sprint went with a long winded name and branded the phone the Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch.
Carriers do not just stick with name changing; they mess around with anything and everything. While small changes would be ok, some go the extra mile, like attaching changing the processor, screen size, adding their own set of bloatware and restrictions (e.g. tethering, side-loading) and a whole lot more. This means that people stuck in a contract with a provider have to have what that provider hands out. In some cases this means a chunky phone with keyboard as opposed to the slim designed phone they originally saw at the unveiling.
In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S3, we can expect a couple of possible changes in the US variants (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint). For one, the single physical home button may be release with a full row of capacitive keys just like we saw in the case of the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note. Secondly, the Verizon, Sprint & AT&T versions may come with LTE radios and as such pack dual-core processors as opposed to the quad-core Exynos chip we saw on the international Samsung Galaxy S3 model. Other minor changes could include a slightly different casing to make room for the LTE radios, carrier branding tattooed on the fascia, and even possibly a slide out keyboard (the last one is long stretch of course).
Here’s hoping that’s as much tampering as carrier hope to do on the very perfect Samsung Galaxy S3.