Basking Ridge, N.J. - The latest version of Samsung's flagship Galaxy phone, the Fascinate, goes on sale Sept. 8 through Verizon Wireless's online store and on Sept. 9 at the carrier's Communications Stores at $199 after a $100 mail-in rebate with new two-year service contract.
Verizon's version, a touchscreen-only model that operates on the company's CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A network, joins T-Mobile's a HSPA+ version, AT&T's HSPA model and Sprint's dual-mode 3G/4G version. Sprint's model adds a slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard and a front-facing video camera for video chatting over data with a video-chat app. Both the Verizon and Sprint models add mobile hot spot capability, with Verizon charging $20 a month for 2GB of hot spot data usage.
Each carrier's version also sports a different name. T-Mobile's model is called the Vibrant. AT&T's is the Captivate. Verizon's phone is the Fascinate. U.S. Cellular will call it the Galaxy S when it launches sometime in the fall. Carrier Cellular South this also plans a fall launch.
All versions are Android 2.1 phones with Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird application processor; 720p high-definition video capture and playback at 30 fps; DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certification to stream stored audio, pictures and HD video to other home electronics products; wireless Wi-Fi tethering to a single laptop to double as a 3G modem; and 16GB of embedded memory. A MicroSD slot is included to expand memory.
To help differentiate its model, Verizon's Fascinate comes preloaded with Amazon's Kindle for Android app, and it offers such optional accessories as a $39.99 car dock that mounts to the windshield or dashboard to display turn-by-turn GPS navigation instructions, rotates freely between landscape and portrait modes, and features a preloaded Samsung Car Home application, which lets users switch brightness levels from day to night and provides one-touch access to Samsung Widgets and Bing Voice Search.
A home charging cradle at $29.99 doubles as a phone charger and lets users watch videos or view photos when the phone sits upright in the cradle. It doubles as a hands-free speakerphone and comes with MicroUSB wall adapter. It comes preloaded with the Samsung Desk Home application, which offers the features of the Samsung Car Home app.
A $39.99 backup battery charging system includes a 1,500 mAH battery, battery charger and Y-cable for simultaneously charging a phone and spare battery simultaneously.
Other standard features in the Galaxy class of smartphones includes 4-inch multi-touch touchscreen with virtual QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel camera/camcorder with autofocus and LED flash, six-axis sensor, stereo Bluetooth, 2GB of embedded memory, and proprietary Super AMOLED LCD display for a thinner, brighter and less-reflective display. The phones will also access Samsung's Social Hub, which aggregates social networks, email, contacts and calendars.
Like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, Verizon said its version would access the Samsung Media Hub, which will be available in the coming months to download movies and TV shows for rent or purchase, presumably via WiFi only. Details of the Media Hub launch will be revealed Sept. 16.