ATandT Samsung Galaxy II Coming Oct. 2 for $199.99

AT&T said its Samsung Galaxy S II will be available Oct. 2 for $199.99 on contract. The handset is powered by Google's Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" platform.

AT&T (NYSE:T) said it will make its Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone available Oct. 2 for $199.99, a move to challenge Sprint's already released Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Epic 4G Touch model.

AT&T's S II won't get a special name, but it will share several of the characteristics of Sprint's Epic 4G Touch, such as Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) latest Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system, Samsung's dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos processor, and Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) Plus display.

However, while the Epic 4G Touch boasts a 4.52-inch touch-screen, AT&T's SII will feature a more pedestrian 4.3-inch display on a device that is only 0.35 inches thick. Still, AT&T pointed out Samsung's display technology offers 50 percent more sub-pixels than Super AMOLED and shows well in sunlight.

Like the Epic 4G Touch, AT&T's SII leverages Samsung's TouchWiz user interface to provide easy widget customization.

For example, the Live Panel provides one-touch access to weather, social updates, email, news and photos. Users may resize and reposition any of the Samsung widgets and applications. The Notifications Panel allows one-touch access to a separate menu for managing WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and flight-mode settings.

AT&T's S II also includes Voice Talk from Vlingo to let users speak commands to update their social networks, send text messages or emails, and dial and search. Special Motion UX sensors let users mute incoming calls by turning the device over. This feature worked quite well in eWEEK's test on Sprint's Epic 4G Touch.

AT&T's S II will also have an 8-megapixel camera that records videos in 1080p high-definition quality. Videos can be ported to HDTVs with a special HDTV adapter, which is sold separately. This is one of the few low points of the way Samsung is offering its Galaxy S II in the U.S.

The S II also possesses a 2MP camera in the front that provides better-than-average video chat. AT&T has preloaded Qik Lite to enable video chats over WiFi. The device also has a 1,650mAh battery, which is less than the Epic 4G Touch's 1,800mAh power supply.

The next question many users will have is: When will T-Mobile launch its Galaxy S II model, which is allegedly fitted with a 1.5GHz processor? It remains to be seen, though it's quite possible T-Mobile will get its device out the door soon.

The S II handsets from Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile will all compete with Apple's iPhone 5 when it launches in October.