Optus today confirmed the mobile phone which giant gadget blog Engadget has rated as possibly the best smartphone bar none will go on sale through its network in “early June”, and will be available on a range of plans starting from $63 per month in total on a 24 month contract.
Samsung’s Galaxy S II handset features a 480×800 Super AMOLED Plus screen, a 1GHz dual-core CPU, version 2.3 (Gingerbread) of the Android operating system, 8 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front cameras, and a slew of other features — such as support for 21Mbps HSPA speeds on 3G mobile networks.
In its review of the device in late April, US gadget blog Engadget noted that the phone “might well be the best smartphone, period” — potentially beating a range of other top-end handsets, such as HTC’s Desire HD, Motorola’s Atrix and even Apple’s iPhone. The first Galaxy S handset was launched in Australia to popular interest in mid-2010, exclusively on Optus initially.
Optus’ launch fits in with Samsung’s previously announced timeframe for the smartphone to launch in Australia “no later than June”. However, the SingTel subsidiary will not be the only Australian telco to launch the device — Samsung are planning to sell it through every major mobile network, providing options to customers.
Today, Optus said in a statement that the phone would be available on a range of plans “to suit different budgets”, including on a $59 monthly plan with a $5 handset repayment cost, and on a $79 monthly payment plan with no handset repayment cost. Optus’ business site is also offering the phone on a $49 monthly plan for a $14 monthly repayment cost, and for nothing on plans of $79 or higher.
Customers interested in the phone are able to pre-order it from Optus from today — and customers who order before 31 May will receive two months’ free access, subject to certain terms and conditions.
The news comes as Australia’s mobile phone market is about to be swamped by a range of high-end Android handsets over the next few months. HTC’s Incredible S, Desire S and Wildfire S, the Motorola Atrix, the Samsung Galaxy Ace, the LG Optimus 2X, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and more are all launching in Australia in mid-2010.
One of the only major question marks over the mobile phone market at the moment is what Apple’s next step for its iPhone range will be — with the company not having flagged a new mobile launch since the iPhone 4 went on sale in mid-2010. In addition, it remains unclear at what point the next wave of handsets based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform will reach Australia, after the first devices with the new operating system launched Down Under in late 2010.
Image credit: Samsung