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The original Samsung Galaxy S was a confusing mess



  galaxy-s-press-conference-2010-copy

Former Samsung CEO J.K. Shin unveils the original Galaxy S versions at an event in New York City in June 2010.


Sarah Tew / CNET

It's been a different world since Samsung introduced the first Galaxy S phone nine years ago. Flip phones have almost disappeared from Earth, "smartphones" are now just phones, and making a phone call is an afterthought, in case you're on the phone at all.

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Another change is that the Galaxy S was just another Android phone on sale, battling for attention in a crowded field. Now that we're waiting for the release of the Galaxy S10 on Wednesday, the name Galaxy S represents the top of the Android world. Samsung is proud to own this flagship rightly. But in 2010 you may not even have known that you bought a Galaxy S.

The first Galaxy S was not a single phone. It landed at the same time on all four major US carriers, but was split into four personalities, one for each carrier. These names sounded directly from a motivational seminar (the Captivate! The fascinating!) And the functions varied slightly between the models. The Sprint phone went so far as to add a physical keyboard (gasp!) While the other three were candybar designs. That was something the carriers did at this time. They set themselves apart from their competitors by marketing a unique device that only they had – but the result was a startling experience for their customers. (Overseas customers had it easier – it was just named Galaxy S.)

On US-American terms, the US phones had a few things in common – each with a 5 megapixel main camera and a 4-inch Super AMOLED Display, a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor from Samsung and a 1,500 mAh lithium-ion battery – but customers had to decide deeper. Camera flash or not? Do I want a mobile hotspot? How much memory do I need? As I said, it was a mess. Here's how it collapsed.

  fl_vibrant-720.jpg [19659014 # fl_vibrant-720.jpg [19659015lcCNET

Samsung Vibrant – T-Mobile

The first Galaxy S variant to be offered for sale in the US had approximately the same specifications as the global edition. Although it had the smoothest design of the four, the plastic skin felt cheap and way too smooth. Android Eclair and Samsung's TouchWiz (remember?) Came preloaded with Amazon Kindle for Android, MobiTV, Slacker Radio, one month of free Gogo Wi-Fi access and Samsung Media Hub. They even received a copy of Avatar in full length. I see you.

Other Features:

  • 16GB internal memory
  • microSD card slot
  • No flash or front camera
  • 3G data
  • Starting price: $ 199 with a two year contract

] Read our Original Samsung Vibrant Report

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CNET

Samsung Captivate – AT & T

In July, just days after the Vibrant, the Captivate was AT & T's best Android phone. On the outside, it's more robust than the Vibrant, though it was more angular. Like the other Galaxy S phones, it debuted with Android Eclair and Samsung's TouchWiz, but AT & T kept the carrier's bloatware to a minimum. However, hardcore Android fans would not have liked to know that AT & T banned the loading of apps that were not in the Android Play section (then called the Android Market).

Other Features:

  • 16 GB internal memory
  • Came with 2 GB microSD card
  • No flash or front camera
  • 3G data
  • $ 199.99 with a two-year contract

Read our original test from Samsung Captivate

. samsung-epic-4g

CNET

Samsung Epic 4G – Sprint

When it arrived in August, the Epic 4G had two great things to offer: 4G data (surprise!) And a physical slide-out keyboard. OK, Sprint's WiMax network was not real 4G technology, but the data speed it ran was very fast for that time. The actual keyboard was not unique in 2010 – it would take a few years before the touchscreen really ruled – but Sprint's decision (and Samsung's decision) to create his own design path clouded the waters of the Galaxy S. Of course, it was also the largest of the four. There were also Android Eclair and Samsung's TouchWiz and quite a few sprint-only apps.

Other features:

  • Mobile Hotspot
  • Internal 1GB memory
  • Came with a 16GB microSD card
  • Flash and VGA front camera
  • 4G (-ish) data [19659018] $ 249.99 with a two-year contract and a $ 100 post-in rebate

Read our original Samsung Epic 4G review

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Samsung Fascinate – Verizon

The last of the original Galaxy S phones to hit the market was Verizon's first Samsung Android phone. It also ran Android Eclair and came (of all things) with Microsoft Bing Search and Bing Maps. Since this was also the era of operator-controlled content and services, it was populated with V Cast Music and Video and VZ Navigator. Add Samsung's TouchWiz, and you're almost wondering if it's really an Android phone.

Other features

  • Mobile Hotspot
  • Internal 2 GB memory
  • Came with a 16 GB microSD card
  • Flash without front camera
  • 3G data
  • Starting price: 199 US $ two-year contract and a post-in rebate of US $ 100

Read our original Samsung Fascinate review

The S2 and beyond

Next year, Samsung and the carriers the Galaxy S2 did not make it easier. Nobody added a keyboard this time, but the screen size, processor speed and even the names varied among the different models. AT & T retained the Galaxy S2 label, but Sprint had the Epic 4G Touch, T-Mobile the Galaxy S 4G. 2012 ended the terrible trend with the Galaxy S3. From then on, the phone (and its name) on the carrier board was the same. The Galaxy S10 should not be different, but from Wednesday we will know for sure.


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