The Galaxy S II: Samsung's iPhone Killer Has Finally Arrived

Widely touted as the true iPhone-killer, Samsung’s new Galaxy S II is finally coming to the U.S. -- with the bite to back up its bark.

The Samsung Galaxy S II -- the company's fastest selling smartphone ever -- is already a bona fide international success, having sold lavishly in foreign markets. In 24 days, the company sold 1 million units; that's 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.

And finally, finally, it's coming to America.

Samsung’s mobile division unveiled the hotly anticipated handset in a gala fete Tuesday at its flagship New York store in the Time Warner Center, announcing carriers AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will begin shipping the phone this fall.

“The unveiling of the Galaxy S II is a landmark achievement for Samsung, our carrier customers and consumers,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile, in a statement released prior to the event.

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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, further entrenching the device as the first great iPhone competitor.

The hype isn’t without substance.

Though each carrier alters its phone a bit, all three Galaxy S II smartphones have some specs in common: a 4.3-inch, Super AMOLED 800x480 screen, a dual core 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..

All of this makes for a spectacular smartphone, says Sascha Segan, lead mobile analyst for

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

One development that may slow but not stop the Galaxy S II’s momentum is the loss of a major carrier. Verizon Wireless won’t be offering Samsung’s smartphone, as the company focuses on alternative Android devices including HTC’s Droid Incredible 2 and Motorola’s upcoming Droid Bionic.

Samsung representatives would not confirm whether the Galaxy would ever be carried by Verizon, telling only that it has "some great smartphones" available on the carrier.

Of course, there is also the unannounced Apple iPhone 5, the elephant in the room. Apple’s next generation phone is widely expected come out in September, Segan noted.

It’s impossible to compare the stats or pricing for any of these yet-to-be-unveiled phones but there could be a telling difference that turns the tables in Samsung’s favor – a 4G network connection.

"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.”

The Sprint version of the Galaxy phone will be available on September 16 for $199 with a 2-year contract, a spokeswoman told AT&T and T-Mobile have yet to announce shipping dates and pricing for their versions of the phone, however.