Samsung unifies its Galaxy S III U.S. branding

In the US, Samsung Electronics Co. new flagship smartphone for the U.S. market will be called by one name – the Galaxy S III. They are saying no to individual carrier brands such as Captivate, Fascinate, or 4G Touch.

The world's leading smartphone manufacturer has revealed plans for the Galaxy III S in the U.S. The rollout is Samsung’s latest effort to challenge Apple Inc at the high end of the smartphone market and reflects the growing clout Korean electronics giant has over wireless carriers and consumers.

Prior to the announcement, Samsung executives emphasized that the Galaxy S III is the first company top-of-the-line phone to use the same name in all four national wireless carriers in the U.S.

The two previous generations of the Galaxy S – which has become the flagship of Samsung since it embraced Google’s Android operating software in 2010 has appeared under different names in U.S. carriers. There was the Samsung Fascinate at Verizon Wireless, the Samsung Captivate on AT & T, and Samsung's Galaxy II long 4G Touch Sprint Nextel Corp.

Previously, large carriers' ability to get the Samsung to let them each put their own name in what is essentially the same phone underscored the significant control they wielded over the marketing of cellphones.

Carrier also pushed other phone manufacturers to give them exclusive access to some phones have special names, such as Motorola Mobility Droid Razr phone for Verizon Wireless and HTC Corp EVO phone for Sprint S. It is all part of their effort to stand apart from competing carriers and drum up interest in their own brand.

However, since Apple launched its iPhone in 2007 and took AT & T to let them drive much of the sales and marketing of the wildly successful smartphone, the strong grip of the carrier device makers began to loosen.

Now Samsung is trying to follow the playbook of Apple, and getting the carrier to come along. In the first quarter of 2012, thanks to strong sales of Galaxy franchise, Samsung overtook Apple smartphone for world leadership position with a 29.1% portion of the global market, compared with 24.2% share Apple, according to research firm IDC.

Justin Denison, chief strategy officer of Alcatel Telecom U.S. unit, said a name strategy is not an easy sell to the carrier. The company is still customize the software to the Galaxy S III for each of them, he added.

Samsung says that by taking the carriers' agreement to use a consistent brand, it is made to shift its approach to advertising in the U.S. is to focus on a single product and try to set itself apart from a slew of new Android phones from different manufacturers that boast similar features.

"When we use our best device to tell our story, it allows people to understand very clearly and we have a cascading effect on other products," Todd Pendleton, Samsung U.S. Telecom marketing chief, said in an interview.

The price of the phone will start at $199 with a two-year contract. It is available in the national carriers Verizon Wireless, AT & T, Sprint and T-Mobile USA as early as this month.

Samsung says it promised carriers to back the phone with its biggest product-launch campaign, although executives declined to say how much it costs. The Galaxy S III, says the company, features a souped-up processor and face-recognition technology.

T-Mobile spokeswoman Cara Walker said the company is working on an ad campaign and investigations of other joint marketing activities with Samsung to highlight the device Galaxy S. T-Mobile has "no objection" to sharing the name of Galaxy III's other carriers, Ms. Walker said.

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