AT&T's Samsung Captivate Set For July 18 Release

The release date means that AT&T will be the first of the major U.S. carriers to release a version of the Samsung Galaxy S, although T-Mobile's version -- dubbed Samsung Vibrant and set for July 21 -- will arrive only a few days later.

Galaxy S versions for Verizon and Sprint, which are called Samsung Fascinate and Samsung Epic 4G, respectively, do not yet have confirmed release dates or pricing specifics, and neither does a fifth version of the phone, dubbed simply Galaxy S, headed for carrier U.S. Cellular.

When it launches, Samsung Captivate will be the most advanced Android-based smartphone yet available for AT&T, which has added several Android devices to its smartphone lineup in recent months.

Like other planned Galaxy S units, it'll arrive running Android 2.1 -- the upgrade to 2.2 is expected later this summer -- and offer a 4-inch AMOLED display, Samsung's 1 Ghz Hummingbird processor, 5-megapixel camera, up to 32 GB of storage (combined on-board and added) and enablement for Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi.

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The Galaxy S represents a big leap forward for Samsung as a smartphone competitor and a player in the rapidly expanding Android ecosystem. The unit was named to CRN's list of The 10 Coolest Smartphones of the Year, (So Fa)r, and also shows AT&T continuing to broaden its smartphone horizons, with the expectation that its exclusive contract to carry Apple's iPhone in the U.S. will end.