When a carrier says it will ship a phone in the "coming weeks," there's usually a certain ritual involved: after weeks of waiting, we get a more definitive press release nailing down the ship date and price. Verizon isn't big on tradition, it seems. Just as many Americans settled down for Thanksgiving, the Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II popped up for sale at Verizon's web store. The Android QWERTY slider is selling at its promised $130 contract price and costs $450 up front; about the only surprise left for the mid-range messaging phone is out-of-the-box Isis support for NFC-based mobile payments. There's talk at Android Central of customers who've already managed to snag the Stratosphere II at retail, although the timing is such that most Americans won't see one first-hand until they're recovering from a food coma.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.