The smartphone industry has become highly competitive, especially over the last 3 years, between all the patent lawsuits and unique features that companies are adding to their devices, companies are finding it harder and harder to keep their devices a secret before it’s officially announced.
Apple is notorious for being highly secretive about their projects, mainly because it could cost them millions of dollars in lost revenue, if say, someone leaked a device months before its debut, the public could then stop buying one of their current products and wait for the new one because it looks more appealing. The case of the iPhone 4/Gizmodo is a perfect example.
Samsung, who has now become the top Android manufacturer has always wanted to be like Apple, they’ve modeled their phone’s AC chargers after theirs, the Galaxy S was made to resemble the iPhone 3G/3GS, they’ve used Apple App Icons in store marketing, they’ve even used the same actresses in their commercials for the Galaxy Tab, that Apple used in their iPad commercial. To top it off, they also made statements that they want people to want their devices, like Apple fans want iPhones.
With the Galaxy S III, Samsung may have finally gotten their wish. Leading up to the announcement of their new flagship device, rumors were flying around with outrageous claims of things like a 1080p display, the fastest quad-core processor that would feature LTE and more, for once, Samsung was receiving “Apple-like” attention prior to a product release. It seemed like every day that a new “leak” was surfacing, showing off the Galaxy S III’s design, one that would contradict the leak from the previous day. While this is exactly what Samsung wanted for their newest Android flagship device, it wasn’t necessarily what their engineers and people on the Galaxy S III R&D team had prepared for, or expected.
Samsung Mechanical Engineer, ByungJoon Lee, says that the pressure to leak information was great, that even his own family tried to get information out of him. “My eldest son is in 6th grade. He knew that I had worked on the GALAXY S and S II. So I guess he assumed that I’d do S III also. Every time he saw an article on the internet about the GALAXY S III he’d ask ‘Dad! You’re making the S III, right?’ But all I could say was ‘I don’t really know.’ It was really awkward.”
Lee wasn’t the only member of the Galaxy S III R&D team facing the heat when came to questions on the Galaxy S III, Senior Engineer, YongMin Ha, basically just shut everyone out, including his family. “I love my wife and my adorable kids. But I just never told them about my job from the beginning. Haha.”
With previous Galaxy devices, the whole team worked together, if one person had a problem that presented an issue, they would ask the whole team for help, however, with the Galaxy S III, that all changed. Much like Apple’s Jony Ive, who has a secret lab with extreme security clearance, for the Galaxy S III, Samsung set up a separate lab, that required finger print and security cards, which only allowed in a select few people on the project. Things got so secretive, that in order to move the smartphone, just across the hall, it had to be placed in a black box in order to prevent anyone from catching a quick look. Lee says that those who were allowed to work on the device, could not take pictures or send images of it to other team members. “Because we were only permitted to see the products and others weren’t, we couldn’t send pictures or drawings. We had to explain the GALAXY S III with all sorts of words. The Procurement Department had to set a price for the GALAXY S III and purchase the materials based on our verbal explanations. It was hard for everyone I guess. Hahaha.”
All that secrecy paid off, because on May 3rd, when Samsung unveiled the smartphone to the world, we all had no idea what to expect. Regardless of how it was received, Samsung finally managed to match Apple when it came to unveiling a new phone. The question that remains now, is whether or not it will sell like one of Apple’s.
Source: Samsung Tomorrow