Ina Fried

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Samsung’s Galaxy S II Finally Migrates to the U.S.

It’s been a long time coming, but Samsung is finally ready to bring its Galaxy S II phone to the U.S. To mark the occasion, the company is holding an event on Tuesday night at its Samsung Experience store in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle.

The store has been turned into a giant advertisement for the device, though the phones themselves remain covered in black linen ahead of the event, which should kick off around 6:30 ET. The product, though, is not much of a mystery, with millions of the devices having already been sold in Europe and Asia.

Nonetheless, I’ll have live coverage of the event once it kicks off in a few minutes. (Tuesday’s event was originally slated for Monday night, but was delayed a day due to Hurricane Irene.)

In the meantime, details are starting to roll in. Sprint says it will sell its version as the Epic 4G Touch for $199 starting Sept. 16. T-Mobile said it will have a version in the fall, while Samsung says AT&T will also have a version this fall.

3:17 pm: Music still playing, but releases are out, so I will summarize some of the details.

3:18 pm: OK, let’s see, the basics are no surprise — eight megapixel rear camera, nifty Super Amoled Plus screen, etc.

One thing that is sure to please users and irk Apple lawyers: The Galaxy S II can take a screenshot by holding down the home and power buttons, which, if I am not mistaken, is how a certain fruit company does the same thing.

3:20 pm: There are some enterprise-specific features to go along with all the consumer stuff: Encryption, support for ActiveSync, Cisco VPN, Sybase mobile device management software and Cisco’s WebEx mobile conferencing.

3:22 pm: What else? Lots of media features, including DLNA and HDMI for getting content from the phone to the living room, as well as software for wirelessly transferring content from a PC or Mac.

3:23 pm: The phone itself has 16 gigabytes of memory, with a card slot for adding up to 32GB more via microSD. There are some accessories, including an HDMI dock for connecting to the TV, a vehicle dock and a charger that comes with a spare battery.

3:25 pm: The event itself will start in five minutes, we are told. That said, not sure how much will be left to be announced.

3:25 pm: As you will note, the device is coming to AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, but not Verizon.

3:27 pm: I’ll be interested to see if Samsung talks about the ChatON instant messaging service it announced earlier this week. It’s due out in September for Samsung devices running Android, Bada and some feature phones, with iOS and BlackBerry versions due by year’s end.

3:30 pm: Okay — event is starting.

3:30 pm: Samsung’s spokesman notes the buildup to Tuesday’s event — earthquakes and hurricanes.

Introduces Todd Pendleton, new chief marketing officer for Samsung’s U.S. mobile arm (Pendleton came from Nike).

“This phone is the phone that all phones will be measured against in the future,” Pendleton said. Again, I think the folks in Cupertino (and, frankly, lots of other places) would dispute that.

3:33 pm: Nick DiCarlo, a VP for the U.S. arm, is ticking off the various features — 1080P video, bigger battery, latest Gingerbread version of Android and a redesigned version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

3:35 pm: DiCarlo promises it will be the thinnest phone on all three networks it is launching on. “This will pass anyone’s pocket test,” he said.

3:37 pm: On to the services capabilities, starting with some of the enterprise features I mentioned earlier.

3:40 pm: On the consumer side, the company is, predictably, touting its Media Hub — Samsung’s video and music store.

Media Hub works across devices, with the rights to the content stored in the cloud, meaning you can buy once and consume it anywhere — well, at least anywhere you have a Samsung device.

The voice control software that comes on the Galaxy S II is done along with Vlingo. Saying “Hi, Galaxy” activates the feature.

3:45 pm: There are a few tweaks to the interface to make it easier to move among different screens of applications as well as put applications in different folders.

3:47 pm: Samsung’s Social Hub is now a standard app, as opposed to more of a widget, bringing together various social feeds, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

3:51 pm: On to demo time … I’ll take some pictures and video …

Here is a quick hands-on video with the Galaxy S II.


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