Why Samsung launching the Galaxy S III on five US carriers simultaneously is a big deal
This is important for a few reasons:
1. It shows that the balance of power with the carriers has shifted, at least somewhat, into Samsung's favor. Typically the carriers demand exclusivity, whether in terms of hardware, launch window, etc. Last time around they got what they wanted, but Samsung's clout as a seller of smartphones has increased so much over the past few years -- they now sell more than anyone else -- that they were better able to dictate the terms for the S3. Notice how none of the carriers got their logo on the front? Apple was able to get that from day one with the iPhone, and the fact that Samsung has been able to get that too now is significant.
2. Having one form-factor makes it easier to build an accessories ecosystem. I know that this stuff usually isn't a primary consideration for most people when buying a phone (gdgt.com/question/how-important-is-availability-of...), but the fact that there is only one design for the iPhone each year has made it considerably easier for there to develop a large market of third-party cases, docks, and other accessories. Samsung will surely sell tons of the S3, which means accessory makers will be more inclined to invest in making stuff for it, which in turn will make the S3 more attractive to buyers. It's the kind of virtuous circle that Apple has been able to tap into, and if Samsung is smart they will do everything possible to encourage it as well.
3. It will be easier for Samsung to concentrate its marketing efforts on one device rather than several. Samsung has certainly been successful in selling tons of the S2, but with so many different models with so many different designs it was difficult to create a single, holistic campaign around it. With essentially a single model that will be available from five carriers with a combined subscriber base topping 300 million, Samsung is free to focus its efforts on creating general awareness for the S3, knowing that if people want it they will most likely be able to get it from the carrier of their choice.
Either way, this is absolutely a step in the right direction for the industry. As is Samsung being able to launch on every carrier simultaneously and avoid exclusivities, as well as delays due to carrier customizations.
Just to add the Samsung Galaxy S II sold over 20 million units. With this flagship model Samsung´s ambitions are surely much higher. If they have variations then it would mess up their supply and production chain too.
I guess they delayed the US launch to conclude their discussions with all major US carriers and hammer out this agreement. The Carriers have all toed the line as they all know this product is surely a 100 % winner. No carrier however strong can ignore a winner. Specially the Samsung Galaxy S III which is staking its place right at the Top Number 1 spot within the Smart Phone category.