For months, Android fans have been waiting for Samsung’s Galaxy S II to launch in the United States, but the version that’s rumored to arrive on AT&T next month might be a lot different from what people are expecting.
AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S II will reportedly have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, as evidenced by a series of spy shots published on Boy Genius Report. Although BGR says the smartphone is still relatively slim, the extra weight and thickness is sure to upset people who were hoping to buy what is currently the thinnest touch screen phone on the market.
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Already, BGR‘s comment section is divided. “Wow, way to screw up a wonderful phone,” writes one commenter.
“Say what you like, but if this has the same 4.3″ screen as the Galaxy S2 I’m buying it,” writes another.
It’s easy to understand why AT&T would want a high-end Android handset with a physical keyboard. Its rival, Verizon Wireless, just started selling the QWERTY-equipped Droid 3, and AT&T lacks a similar offering. Tacking on a physical keyboard would also help AT&T differentiate the Galaxy S II from Apple’s iPhones.
But the Galaxy S II is a popular smartphone as is, thanks to its 4.3-inch screen, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel camera and slender 0.33-inch profile. Samsung claims to have sold 3 million of them in less than two months without any U.S. availability.
Obviously, there’s no right answer to whether smartphones are better off without physical keyboards, but for users who prefer simple slabs with no sliding parts, there’s hope: Chris Ziegler, who blogs for This is My Next, wrote on Twitter to “expect a family” of Samsung Galaxy S II devices on AT&T, with the caveat that he couldn’t confirm the rumors he was hearing. I think we can all agree that a choice between QWERTY and keyboard-free Galaxy S II phones would be the ideal outcome.