/// With Galaxy S III, Samsung Makes the Case That One Size Does Fit All
The tug-of-war between handset makers and carriers is one of the oldest games in the mobile phone business. For most of that history, at least here in the U.S., it has been the carriers with the largest pull. As the ones who buy the devices and are responsible for selling them to customers, they have traditionally been able to make sure their brand is the biggest, if not the only one, and that the phones themselves look and feel a certain way. The iPhone has been the major exception shipping in an Apple box, with no carrier branding and in exactly the same form no matter which operator is selling it. But other device makers are also taking note. With the the first Galaxy S phones, Samsung managed to make sure each device was tagged as “a Galaxy S smartphone” even though each of the U.S. carriers had their own moniker such as Fascinate, Vibrant and Captivate. With the Galaxy S II, there were still variations in design and screen size, though the Galaxy S II name was universally adopted. (Sprint did insist on appending the Epic 4G Touch to the name, giving its Galaxy S II a long name and a split personality.) This time around, Samsung is changing all that. Each U.S. carrier is selling essentially the same Galaxy S III device. It looks the same and packs nearly identical features, with the cell phone radio being the only key variable. (The phone supports LTE networks on Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, while using HSPA+ on T-Mobile.) Indeed, in a demo, Samsung VP Nick DiCarlo had to turn the phone over to double-check which model he was holding (It was T-Mobile’s.) The carriers are able to do a little bit of customization when it comes to software, pre-loading their own apps. In T-Mobile’s case, for example, the Galaxy S III comes loaded with apps for the carrier’s TV service and hotspot connection software.
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