Why are American users among the last to get new devices? It’s because the immense power that big carriers wield in the US, and also, due to the specifics of the market. Manufacturers have to adapt their devices to the carriers’ requests, and also to ensure the technical compatibility between handsets and the cell networks that are prevalent in North America.
Of course, you can always skip carriers and get yourself an unlocked device, if you are willing to put up with the significant price hike and some limitations. Case in point: you can now pre-order an unlocked, GSM Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB from Amazon.com, starting from $779.99.
Now, 800 bucks is a hefty price tag, no matter how you look at it, but considering the savings that you can make by going pre-paid, it might be something to consider. You can get the device from several vendors, some of which claim that they’ll ship the device even before the official May 29 worldwide release date (with the customary warnings). For example, retailer Tailwind says it will get the Galaxy S3 in its inventory as early as May 24 and begin fulfilling orders the next day. So, yeah, you’ll get the bragging rights associated with sporting the Galaxy S3 before any of your friends.
For the caveat part, this is the GSM version of the phone, which will not work on Verizon’s or Sprint CDMA networks. As for LTE, forget about it. On the flipside, this version is powered by a quad-core Exynos 4 processor, as Mother Samsung intended, and not the S4 Snapdragon that will probably tick inside the US versions of the Galaxy S3.
So, folks, if you don’t care about LTE or CDMA, and you are sick of depending on carriers, the beautiful Galaxy S3 might be your own personal vehicle to phone nirvana.