Have US wireless carriers gone mad? Samsung Fascinate crippled by Verizon

The promise of the Samsung Galaxy S on all four major US wireless carriers has been met, but did the carriers kill some of the experience we all hoped for with their customizations? The Galaxy S is a good device, but could be better without carrier involvement.

The Verizon announcement for the fourth Samsung Galaxy S device, the Fascinate, to be released on US carriers was made official today with the device available starting tomorrow through online sales and in stores on Thursday, September 9th. After reading several reviews this morning (listed below), it looks like the Fascinate will be the lamest of the four Galaxy S devices available and in my experiences only two of the four are really worth purchasing here in the US and the promise of some outstanding devices was hampered by US wireless carrier involvement.

The Samsung Fascinate is similar in form factor to the T-Mobile Vibrant and AT&T Captivate, but takes away the huge internal 16GB flash memory and replaces it with only 2GB. I can understand that the Sprint Epic 4G took away this large internal memory storage, but they provided a large physical QWERTY keyboard, WiMAX antenna, front facing camera, and camera flash that more than made up for that. The Fascinate does add a camera flash, but that can't make up for the loss of internal storage.

Check out these reviews on the Verizon Samsung Fascinate and let me know if you agree with my take here:

The real killers look to be in what Verizon has done with the device, including setting Bing Search as the default search client with no apparent ability to get Google Search back as the default. How in the world can you have an Android device without Google Search as the default? Then I read they also took and replaced Google Maps Navigation with their subscription based Verizon Navigator software. Are you serious? I read that it can be changed to Google Maps, but only after taking several steps that your new smartphone user may never figure out. I could understand if Sprint did this with Sprint Navigation since they bundle that service in for free with no cost to the consumer, but Verizon Navigator is $10/month and not as slick as Google Maps Navigation.

AT&T has crippled the Captivate too with a lock down on what appears in the Android Market, limited side loading of apps, and added their bloatware that cannot be removed. T-Mobile and Sprint have done a pretty good job of leaving the devices alone and I can recommend these two devices if you are looking for a Galaxy S smartphone. However, the T-Mobile Vibrant does have a bad GPS bug that must get fixed and Sprint does limit the customization of the center two buttons and adds some of their services, but at least the services are free.

US carriers have gone mad customizing perfectly fine devices and I wish every manufacturer had the pull of Apple to leave these smartphones the way they were designed to be used. The Galaxy S is a great product, but two of the four major US carriers have done what they can to cripple the experience to increase their revenues.