By the time you read this post, I’d probably be on a plane to London to get my hands on the Galaxy S III. This is by far the most anticipated smartphone (apart from THAT other fruity one) and so far Samsung has done a pretty good job of keeping it a secret. We are hearing that within Samsung too only a handful of people know what the phone looks like, primarily on a need to know basis. The few leaks that have happened so far show the phone in testing cases and there has been not one leak that shows the device in its actual casing. Yeah, Samsung has certainly taken an affinity to Apple’s secrecy playbook! (I wonder if Apple has patented that too!) Also Read - Samsung Galaxy S5 now available for Rs 34,000 under buyback offer
The 12-odd hours of travel would mean that I’ll be missing out on some last minute leaks. But read on to find out what I expect from the Galaxy S III and its quest to topple Apple’s dominance in the smartphone space. Also Read - Samsung resumes Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for Galaxy S III
By being the world’s largest smartphone vendor and the second largest in terms of margins, Samsung is in a pretty comfortable position right now. Its closest Android rival, HTC, has been posting gloomy results quarter after quarter, enabling Samsung to focus on the real thing – chipping into iPhone’s market share. Even today, Apple is selling more iPhones than Samsung’s top-of-the-line Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note and that is the real challenge for Samsung. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy S III running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean spotted in the wild
If the last two years were about becoming the numero uno smartphone vendor riding on the back of Android platform, the coming years will be about dominating the high-end, high-margin smartphone space – something that Apple has successfully done since the first iPhone debuted in 2007. The Galaxy S III would essentially mark the beginning of that phase for Samsung.
I don’t tend to see the Galaxy S III as the successor to the Galaxy S II, though it might seem as much. Even Samsung essentially considers the Galaxy Note to hold that position. Instead, I expect the Galaxy S III to mark a shift in Samsung’s approach towards its flagship smartphone. It shouldn’t just be armed to the teeth with the latest specifications that is on offer but also make a lifestyle statement. It should have an emotional connect with its users. It should be an aspirational smartphone that people aspire to buy not just because it is the latest and greatest hardware but because it looks and feels good too.
Think about it. The Galaxy S II, which was Samsung’s flagship smartphone for 2011 had a plastic casing with the cheapest and thinnest slice of plastic for its battery cover. Yes, it did have one of the best displays for that time and the best possible specs. But it did not have the raw sex appeal. It did not feel premium. Also it didn’t help that Samsung came out with a half-a-dozen variants of the same product. It lost its exclusivity.
I expect the Galaxy S III to change all that. I expect Samsung to use premium materials – a ceramic back has been rumored in the past. I would love to see that. I want Samsung to make a statement that its flagship product will retain its exclusivity and will become a thing that people want to be seen with rather just use it because of its hardware specifications. Mind you, Samsung would still be revealing its cards before Apple (the next iPhone will still be a couple of months, if not more away). And it needs to ensure that the Galaxy S III retains its charm even after whatever Apple launches.
These are the things I’d be looking out for when I sit in the audience watching the phone being unveiled at Earls Court in London. These are the benchmarks I’d judge the Galaxy S III on when I get my hands on it. Will Samsung deliver? We will find out later tonight.
P.S. I will attempt to live tweet the Galaxy S III press conference (depending on the data connectivity). You can follow me on Twitter @rajatagr