JR Raphael

Galaxy S III release dates: A carrier-by-carrier guide

June 18, 2012 12:05 PM EDT

Galaxy S III Release DatesGalaxy fans, this is the week: Samsung's hotly anticipated Galaxy S III phone is set to arrive in the U.S. within a matter of days.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S III at a lavish event in May. Since then, the phone has trickled out in its unlocked form and landed in the hands of users overseas, but we here in the States have been left waiting and anticipating.

Well, gang, the wait is almost over. And here's the good news: Things are a heck of a lot simpler this time around. With Samsung's previous U.S. Galaxy phone launches, as I'm sure you know, there was little consistency in launch date or device style from one carrier to the next.

This year, Sammy's keeping a consistent look and brand across the board. So, yes, that means we'll never see the "Epic 4G Touch III LTE" or the "Galaxy S III Captivate Skyrocket HD" (please, withhold your tears).

As far as availability, the Galaxy S III will land on all four major U.S. carriers as well as on the smaller shores of U.S. Cellular. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all targeting June 21 for their Galaxy S III releases, according to information posted on their websites. Verizon is currently showing ship dates of July 10 for its model, and U.S. Cellular is aiming to have its devices ready by mid- to late-July. All of the carriers are now accepting pre-orders.

So how 'bout prices? AT&T will sell a 16GB version of the phone for $200. Sprint, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular will offer 16GB versions for $200 and 32GB versions for $250 (though in the case of U.S. Cellular, a $100 mail-in rebate is required). Those prices are all dependent upon the signing of new two-year contracts. T-Mobile, meanwhile, will feature both the 16GB and 32GB models but has yet to release any pricing information.

UPDATE [6/20/12]: T-Mobile has announced it will sell the 16GB phone for $230 and the 32GB for $280 if you use one of its "Value" plans; those plans also, however, require monthly "equipment installment" payments of $20 for 20 months. With T-Mobile's "Classic" plans, the 16GB phone will cost $280 and the 32GB will cost $330, both after $50 mail-in rebates. Whew -- got all that? 

All of the carriers will offer the phone in white or blue -- "Marble White" or "Ceramic White" and "Pebble Blue" or "Metallic Blue," depending on whom you ask, but Samsung assures me the color schemes are consistent across the carriers, even if the color names are not. (For what it's worth, the official names are "Marble White" and "Pebble Blue"; God knows why everyone can't stick to the plan and get those right.) The one exception is AT&T, which will offer an exclusive red version of the phone later this summer in addition to the two basic models.

Android Power TwitterI'll be covering the Galaxy S III in much greater detail as the week wears on. With this launch right around the corner and Google I/O now just over a week away, the rest of June will be anything but quiet in the world of Android -- and that's exactly how we like it.

UPDATE: Samsung Galaxy S III review: A rock star phone, but does it deliver?