Vodafone has secured an exclusive deal with Samsung for the 32GB version of the Galaxy S III while Carphone Warehouse is offering 1,000 free Galaxy Tabs with pre-orders as retailers unveil their deals for Samsung's latest flagship handset.
The Galaxy SIII was unveiled last night, with retailers and operators quick off the mark to confirm they will be stocking the device. Vodafone has exclusivity on the 32GB version for a month but Three was the only operator to outline its pricing plans, with the device available for free from £34 per month as part of its all-you-can-eat data plan. Every customer who pre-orders a device will be entered into a daily draw to win one of 26 Samsung Smart TVs. The contract offers 2,000 minutes to any network, 5,000 Three to Three minutes and 5,000 texts. Three director of the devices Nigel Field said: 'The Galaxy S II was one of the smartphones of 2011, and we’re expecting its successor, the Samsung Galaxy S III, to be amongst 2012’s biggest mobile success stories.'
At Carphone Warehouse, the retailer is offering a free Zagg InvisibleSHIELD screen protector and in-car charger worth £29.98 on pre-order, along with a Galaxy Tab for the first 1,000 pre-orders. The device is available for £499.95 SIM-free or on contract from £36 per month. Phones 4u is offering an accessory bundle worth £50 on pre-order. It is available on contracts starting from £36 per month.
Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, said the London 2012 Olympics will serve as a 'perfect' marketing opportunity for the handset.
He added: 'Aside from the success of the Galaxy S III, Samsung’s wider business challenge is to decide if it needs ownership of a software and services platform. Leveraging Android has played to Samsung’s advantage, so far, giving it the opportunity to move to the software platform of choice for consumers; however, it leaves the company venerable to a vast number of other OEMs, which could produce the next ‘must-have’ Android smartphone. Having a successful service proposition would help the company build a deeper relationship with its customers.'
IDC's Francisco Jeronimo described the launch as a 'beginning of a new era for Samsung: the leadership era'. He claimed the Korean manufacturer was the only company that could compete with Apple.
However, Jeronimo said he felt the company could have been bolder and 'seized the opportunity to lead in innovation of design and usability'. He added: 'Smartphone competition is no longer just a hardware race. It is a usability competition for the simplest and most pleasing experience with innovative features. The design of the Galaxy S III is little more than a facelift of the Galaxy Nexus. It feels less 'plasticky' than the previous Galaxy S II, too, but it is not an eye-catching device that will overwhelm consumers. Hardware-wise, the Galaxy S II was a lot more disruptive than this version is today.'
Ernest Doku, from price comparison site uSwitch, welcomed the device's features like Smart Stay, which means the screen does not turn off until a consumer looks away, and its social media features. He said: 'The Galaxy S III has some commendable new features but despite its Apple-esque, near-global launch I don't think this phone is set to be an iPhone killer. An iPhone maimer maybe, but not a killer. It's approachable, it's accessible and it's darn big but is it the best thing since sliced bread? Maybe not.'
Read Mobile Choice's Hands-On with the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Editor: Graeme Neill