April 20, 2012 by Tap
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is perhaps the most anticipated smartphone of 2012, only challenged for this title by the iPhone 5 / new iPhone. The Galaxy S2, launched in 2011, was one of the biggest selling smartphones of all time and the biggest threat to the iPhone's as yet unrivalled supremacy. This was no doubt the main underlying reason for Apple suing Samsung left right and centre and deciding to ditch to Korean firm as its main source for iPhone components.
Apple of course denies that it feels threatened by the Samsung Galaxy range, instead insisting that the spate of lawsuits were in response to Samsung slavishly copying Apple's products and designs. Images were produced in various courts throughout the world showing the similarity between TouchWiz, the Android interface used on most Samsung phones, and Apple's own iOS. Then there was the whole issue of the solitary central home button found on the S2, and Apple was quick to point out that it invented centrally aligned buttons on phones, app icons and even rectangular devices.
But in some respects Apple are correct – Samsung have been copying Apple's ideas. Apple has a knack for creating a foaming-at-the-mouth hysteria around its product launches, shunning the rest of the industry and insisting on doing things its own way. Apple does not attend industry events such as the Consumer Electronics Show or Mobile World Congress, instead opting for its own launch events which give the company an air of exclusivity and of being something quite unique.
MWC – Where is the S3?
Although Samsung did have a few smartphones on show at Mobile World Congress, many had their hopes dashed by meeting with the Galaxy Beam instead of the Galaxy S3. Instead, Samsung promised that the long awaited flagship would make an appearance at a separate event at an unconfirmed date later in the year. This vagueness created a buzz with onlookers wondering if each successive Samsung press conference would be the one where the S3 finally made an appearance.
Samsung has also taken cues from Apple by maintaining the utmost secrecy surrounding the phone, refusing to even confirm a rough estimate of its launch. Apple famously keeps its employees under strict control regarding prototype iPhones and iPhone components, even launching raids on the homes of people who seem to know too much. This secrecy leads everyone and anyone to speculate on what they think might make an appearance on the device.
New smartphone models need testing, in real world conditions and on various networks across the globe, which means that they inevitably need to come out of their top secret hidey hole at some point. This is usually when the blurry leaked images start to appear online, and much of the mystery surrounding the phone is dispelled.
Samsung has taken unusual steps to prevent this from happening, by sending the phone's components for testing in a non-descript plastic box. This box allows third parties to run their necessary tests without having any concrete knowledge of how the phone will appear once it is released. Again, this is a tactic that is also employed by Apple, who has reportedly been providing test models of the iPhone 5 contained within iPhone 4 cases. The lack of any concrete knowledge about the phone ensures that the frenzied interest is maintained at its highest level until launch day.
Without the usual leaked images available to feed people's curiosity, a vacuum is created for anyone with a modicum of Photoshop knowledge to produce their own mock-up and attempt to fool the world with their vision of the future. Here are some of the more prominent "leaked" images that have appeared online in the last few months:
This first image is of a phone featured in a Samsung video. The phone has not been identified, and Samsung has not commented on the device. But as it is a genuine Samsung phone that at least existed at one point it is the leaked image with the most weight behind it.
This next image was released by Eldar Murtazin, and industry insider with a lot of important connections who has a habit of releasing rumours which turn out to be fairly accurate. Unfortunately this one was not. Murtazin claimed this "press shot" of the S3 from February was from an upcoming launch of the device at Mobile World Congress, which we all know never took place. The phone also looks suspiciously like the Galaxy S2 with a few Ice Cream Sandwich buttons added to the bottom.