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Samsung Epic 2, SPH-D705 finally being released?

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The Epic 2 has appeared in a Cellebrite system, could it be coming to a regional carrier?

SPH-d705 epic 2
SPH-d705 epic 2

Way back in June 2011, we detailed Sprint's roadmap for the rest of that year and pretty much every device we discussed has been released: the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, the BlackBerry Bold 9930, and the BlackBerry Torch 9850 all arrived on Sprint. There was one device that didn't, however: the Samsung Epic 2, the QWERTY-slider followup to the original Samsung Epic 4G. Since then, the only evidence we had of its existence was this post at PocketNow and an entry in the Wi-Fi certification database. Until now, that is, as it has appeared on the Cellebrite systems used to transfer phone data. The Samsung product number, SPH-D705, slots it in right where you would expect it, between the Epic 4G (SPH-D700) and the Epic 4G Touch (SPH-D710), but whether or not it's coming to Sprint is another matter entirely.

The fact of the matter is that the rumored specs for the device are pretty ho-hum by today's standards: a 4-inch qHD display, 1.2GHz single-core Hummingbird processor, and 8-megapixel camera (although the inclusion of dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct is marginally interesting). That we haven't seen it released makes us think that one of two things happened. First, it's possible that Samsung has gone back to the drawing board and upgraded the specs of the device before release. Second, and more likely, is that Sprint decided to take a pass on it in order to focus its efforts on the more popular slab form factor we got with the Epic 4G Touch.

However, seeing it pop up on Cellebrite makes us wonder if Samsung might have successfully convinced some smaller, regional carrier here in the US to carry the device. It wouldn't be the first time we saw a QWERTY-slider Android device set for release on a major US carrier, only to be "cancelled" and shuffled off to a regional. Exhibit A: the HTC Merge, originally destined for Verizon.

An appearance in Cellebrite's systems is not a guarantee of release, but generally speaking the company doesn't bother adding support for a new device unless it has a chance of being released somewhere. It's tough to imagine that in this big-screened, LTE-obsessed world there are many people clamoring for the Epic 2 to be released, but it's possible that Samsung has finally found a way to do just that.

Image: PocketNow, test photo from Epic 2 (the pictured phone is not the Epic 2); thanks ej_nasty!