Fascinate Pre-Orders Set to Begin; Launch Date Leaks

The other carriers have either launched their Samsung Galaxy S variant (T-Mobile, the Vibrant, and AT&T, the Captivate), or we at least know a launch date (Sprint's Epic 4G will launch on August 31st). Yet the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., Verizon, has not released a launch date for its Fascinate. It has to be soon, however: pre-orders are set to begin.

On Thursday, Best Buy announced pre-orders for the Verizon Fascinate will begin on Aug. 27th (for Reward Zone members), or Aug. 29th (for others). Since Best Buy's Reward Zone is free, if you want a Fascinate, you'd best sign up now. Pre-orders will be taken in-person at Best Buy stores and Best Buy Mobile standalone stores. However, Best Buy failed to give us a launch date.

Instead, we have to rely on a leaked screenshot from Verizon sales. It shows that Verizon employees can pre-order Fascinates, and that the device will ship 9/6 for a 9/9 launch. An unlikely possibility would be that 9/9 is for Verizon employees only, but that seems very unlikely, particularly with the final clue.

The final clue is that reportedly the Verizon Fascinate is set as a sponsor of the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. The VMAs awards show airs on Sept. 12th.  Thus, a Sept. 9th launch date makes a whole lot of sense, as if you're sponsoring something this high-profile, it would be great if people could buy the item (although, we admit, it could be just as good if the launch was soon thereafter).
The Verizon Fascinate is, as we said, a Samsung Galaxy S variant.  The devices spread throughout the big 4 carriers all have the same "basic" specs: they ship with Android 2.1, include a  beautiful 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor, 5-megapixel camera, a few other things.  They still have some degree of differentiation. 

For one, the T-Mobile and AT&T variants do not have an LED flash, but do have 16GB of internal storage.  The Captivate also has a significantly different shape from the Vibrant.  Meanwhile, while both the the Verizon Fascinate and the Sprint Epic 4G have an LED flash, they have much less internal storage (2GB and 1GB, respectively).  The Epic 4G adds a front-facing camera and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Epic 4G also has a higher price, $50 higher than the Vibrant and Captivate, at $249.

Despite the fact that pre-orders start on Thursday, Best Buy didn't announce a price when it announced the start of the process.