Recent reviews of the Samsung Fascinate paint a grim picture of what using the phone might be like. The Fascinate is the fourth of Samsung's Galaxy S series to launch in the US, following the Vibrant on T-Mobile, Captivate on AT&T, and Epic on Sprint.
To recap, the Fascinate runs Android 2.1 with Samsung's custom skin, TouchWiz, and has impressive hardware specs. It packs a 1GHz hummingbird processor, 5MP camera, 4" Super AMOLED screen, and is super thin. It's been a best-seller on other carriers, and lots of people have been anxiously waiting for Verizon's version.
But in a rather stunning move, Verizon has chosen to remove Google search entirely. The default (and only) search option is Bing. There's a Bing widget and it's the default search for the browser...and it can't be changed. Aside from rooting/hacking, users have no choice but to use Bing. It's worth noting that users of other Android phones can change the default, if they want to. There are both Bing and Yahoo apps available in the Market that each include their own search widget.
In a similar move, Verizon has the phone set to default to using
Be sure to read Engadget's review, and Gizmodo's lightning review. Both immediately call attention to Verizon's strange decisions with this device.
I've read some speculation that this may be due to Verizon wanting to promote their Droid lineup. So they intentionally cripple the Fascinate to encourage people to buy a Droid. That sounds a bit conspiracy theorist to me, but anything's possible. Ultimately, there's nothing illegal about it, and consumers can exercise choice by simply buying a different phone...which I suspect many will do.