For five years, every new smartphone has faced the same simple question: Is it better than an iPhone? For a long time the answer was an automatic no. But the newest generation of devices running Google’s Android operating system is making it a closer call. HTC’s standout One X landed on US shores earlier this month. Now two more contenders seek to raise the stakes for the iPhone upgrade Apple is expected to unveil this fall: Samsung’s new flagship, the Galaxy S III, and the Xperia Ion, the first phone to appear solely under the Sony name. Of the two, the Samsung is the more ambitious and more successful. In a break from the company’s usual strategy of creating multiple, slightly different models under different names, it’s launching the Galaxy S III on all four major US carriers: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile. The versions are identical save for some under-the-hood variations to allow them to run on the different networks. Both the AT&T and Verizon versions run on those carriers’ LTE networks, which means they’re considerably faster than the iPhone at accessing the Web. On the other hand, the iPhone has better battery life. Comfortably thin The Galaxy…
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