Samsung's iPhone Killer Is Coming: Galaxy S II Due This Month

The Samsung Galaxy S II is widely believed to be the only real competition to the Apple iPhone. And you can't get it in the United States-- yet.

Samsung's mobile division has finally announced a date for the U.S. release of its hotly anticipated phone, which has sold lavishly in foreign markets. Over 5 million people worldwide have already bought the flagship Android phone in the 85 days it has been on the market -- that's one sold every 1.5 seconds, the company said.

And like Eddie Murphy, it's finally coming to America.

Samsung sent an invitation to journalists early Friday touting "a major product announcement" for Aug. 29. The brief note doesn't mention the Galaxy S II by name, but the star-field background and the Roman numeral two clearly suggest what analysts and enthusiasts alike are saying: The Galaxy is coming.

"It isn't rocket science to understand that it's the Galaxy S II announcement," joked Sascha Segan, lead mobile analyst for Indeed, the name of an image embedded in the announcement speaks for itself, confirming the information the email itself skirts around: Galaxy_S_II_Invite_v2.jpg.

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It isn't an overstatement to say that the Samsung Galaxy S II is the strongest competition the iPhone faces.

The phone sports a 4.3-inch, 800x480 screen, a 1.2-GHz processor, fast 4G network connectivity, and a sleek, simple design evocative of the iPhone. By contrast, the Apple iPhone 4  has a 3.5-inch, 960x640 screen, a 1-GHz processor, and a slower, 3G connection.

Bigger and faster? Yes, please.

Though it hasn’t gone on sale yet in the U.S., worldwide sales of the Galaxy S II are copious -- practically obscene. In 24 days, the company sold 1 million units -- enough to reach past the top of Mt. Everest if stacked on end. The 2 million units sold in 42 days would fill two and a half soccer fields.

That's a lot of smartphones. But it's more than that: It's a lot of good smartphones, Segan said.

"If the U.S. versions are anything like the international versions, these are going to be spectacular smartphones," he told Segan gave an international version of the phone an Editors' Choice award, calling it the finest Android smartphone available today.

The unannounced Apple iPhone 5 is the elephant in the room, of course (and by the way, the 3 million Galaxy S II phones sold in just over 50 days are as heavy as 100 elephants). The iPhone 5 is widely expected to be coming out in September, Segan noted.

And getting the right price could make all the difference for Samsung. "They don't want to be more expensive than the iPhone," Segan said.

It's impossible to compare the stats or pricing for any of these yet-to-be-unveiled phones, of course. But that 4G network connection may prove a major difference between the two.

"Unless Apple has made some sort of secret breakthrough, [the faster LTE network] might make a Verizon iPhone too thick and power-hungry for Apple's demands this year. Apple may skip it for now and wait for smaller and cooler chipsets," Segan noted.

That faster connection really pays off for anyone surfing a lot of complicated websites or viewing movies over Netflix, he said.

But in the end, pricing, a final feature set and the design is all up to the carriers. "The mainstream price for a smartphone is $199 with contract," Segan noted. "We're all hoping for $199."