Samsung Galaxy S II: Everything there is to know (so far)

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Samsung Galaxy S II

Few phones have generated as much excitement as Samsung's hotly anticipated Galaxy S II. It's no surprise: Ten million people snatched up Sammy's first-generation Galaxy S devices in 2010, and more than 5 million users have already bought the Galaxy S II in Asia and Europe, where it launched in late April. 

For those of us in the U.S., the big question is when the Galaxy S II will reach our shores. While we wait for the formal announcements to begin, here's a detailed roundup of everything there is to know so far.

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UPDATE: The phones are now official. For the most up-to-date information, see my full report: Samsung Galaxy S II: The complete FAQ

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Samsung Galaxy S II: The Timing

Samsung's president of mobile business and digital imaging, Shin Jong-kyun, was quoted in late July as saying the Galaxy S II would launch in the U.S. "sometime in August." Around that same time, Samsung sent out packages to American journalists with small GS2-branded telescopes and cards instructing us to "keep watch for the next generation of Galaxy S."

If the original Galaxy S rollout is any indication, it's quite likely that the Galaxy S II will reach different carriers at different times. Still, it appears we should be seeing at least one launch within the next few weeks.

Samsung Galaxy S II: The Specs

The Samsung Galaxy S II boasts a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display and ships with a variant of Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread. A brand new version of Samsung's TouchWiz interface is baked into the software.

The Galaxy S II has an 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash and 1080p video recording. It also has a front-facing cam for video chat. The GS2 includes Android-friendly NFC technology as well.

[COMPARE: Samsung Galaxy S II vs. the original Galaxy S]

Of course, each U.S. carrier tends to make its own modifications to the Galaxy S device, so some of these stats may vary from one model to the next. Read on for a carrier-by-carrier breakdown of what we've heard thus far.

Samsung Galaxy S II: Sprint's Edition

Samsung Galaxy S II - Sprint

Image courtesy ThisIsMyNext.comAccording to leaked marketing materials, Sprint's version of the Samsung Galaxy S II will be called the Epic 4G Touch. Previous leaks have referred to the device as the Samsung Within.

(Incidentally, other leaks have mentioned an "Epic 2" Sprint phone that may also be in the works; that, however, appears to be a separate, non-Galaxy-branded device.)

Last week, Boy Genius Report cited unnamed sources as saying Sprint's Galaxy S II phone would launch in September. BGR's report also claims the phone will lack the original Epic's physical keyboard -- fitting, given the apparent "Touch" moniker in the name -- and will feature 4G connectivity.

The gang from This Is My Next published a photo in mid-July that's believed to show the upcoming new phone. As of now, Sprint has made no official announcements.

Samsung Galaxy S II: T-Mobile's Edition

Samsung Galaxy S II - T-Mobile

Image courtesy TmoNews.comT-Mobile's Galaxy S II device is rumored to be called the Samsung Hercules. Material obtained by This Is My Next suggests the phone will feature a larger display than the standard GS2 model, at 4.5 inches. The Hercules is also believed to provide support for "extremely fast" data speeds as well as compatibility with AT&T's 4G network (you know, in case that pesky merger goes through).

Current predictions put the Hercules at a late September release -- September 26, according to TIMN -- though T-Mobile has yet to release any official details.

The images above, obtained by T-Mobile gossip site TmoNews.com, are said to show the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S II: Verizon's Edition

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Verizon's Galaxy S II offering has been called both the Samsung Function and the Samsung Stratosphere. Not a whole lot is known about the device, but there's plenty of speculation about when it might be released.

In early August, IGN.com published an alleged leaked roadmap of upcoming Verizon devices that suggested a September 8 launch date for Big Red's Galaxy S II. "Industry analyst" Paul Mueller, meanwhile, told Examiner.com that Verizon would be the first U.S. carrier to launch a GS2 device, with a debut coming as early as August 12 (i.e. this Friday).

Like the other carriers, Verizon has yet to make any comment or announcement. 

Samsung Galaxy S II: AT&T's Edition

Samsung Galaxy S II - AT&T

Image courtesy Engadget.comAT&T's Galaxy S II phone has seen more than its fair share of conflicting speculation. In late July, a report surfaced showing a QWERTY-slider said to be AT&T's GS2 device. Days later, however, a follow-up report said that phone wasn't, in fact, a Galaxy S II model, but rather an unrelated Samsung phone also under development for AT&T.

So what about the actual AT&T GS2? It's rumored to be called the Attain, with some industry-watchers pointing to this month for a release. An image found on the Facebook page of Samsung's Singapore division shows a product called a "Galaxy S II Desktop Dock" with an AT&T-branded phone inside; current theories suggest that may be the phone we're waiting for.

Finally -- you guessed it -- there's no official word from AT&T at this time.

All considered, it certainly seems like we should be seeing some official Galaxy S II news from someone soon. Place your bets now, and stay tuned: I'll be reviewing the various devices as they arrive.

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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