AT&T says the wait for its Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone is over. Subscribers and new customers will be able to buy the phone in stores and online starting Friday, July 6.
While AT&T announced June 4 that, like four other U.S. carriers, it would be offering the phone, it didn't name a sales date for the highly in-demand device until July 2.
Samsung executives have said their South Korean factory is working full-time to meet global demand for the device, and while AT&T is finally getting its share, the order doesn't yet seem to be complete. AT&T said in its original press release that it exclusively would offer the phone in red, in addition to the blue and white offered by its competitors. At present, however, the site shows only Pebble Blue and Marble White options to be available.
An AT&T spokesperson confirmed to eWEEK that the red version will arrive "this summer."
Sprint and T-Mobile were to begin selling the Galaxy S III June 21, but the day came and went without supplies reaching Sprintand only a 16GB model reaching T-Mobileleaving the carrier to say Samsung was "overwhelmed by demand" and the pair were "working closely" on a delivery schedule.
On June 27 Sprint announced it would have both 16GB and 32GB models in retail stores and offer the 32GB version online. T-Mobile's online store, however, still shows the 32GB model listed as out of stock.
Before reaching the United States, the Galaxy S III debuted in 28 countries. By July's end, Samsung expects to have shipped 10 million of the handsets, which could take a noticeable bite out of Apple's smartphone market share.
The Galaxy S III features a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, pushing the bounds between smartphone and phablet. It runs a quad-core processor and the Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system; has six sensors, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, near-field communication (NFC) and Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) technology; and is LTE-enabled. There's also a 1.9-megapixel camera on the front that can be used for video chattingor for the phone to watch the user, to be more responsive to his or her needs.
It is, very literally, a lot of phone, packed with features, tricks and shortcuts. So many shortcuts, in fact, that a user's early moments with the phone can be interrupted by pop-up windows (that can be opted-out of) explaining things that Samsung (or is it Google?) doesn't expect a user to intuitively grasp or otherwise figure out quickly enough.
In a blog post announcing the phone's upcoming availability on the AT&T network, Kari Tillman, a product manager, said she is no exception, despite her experience with the phone.
"As a product manager, Ive been fortunate to be able to work on the Galaxy S III since the early concepts and am very pleased with the results," she wrote. "Its amazing to see how the Galaxy S series has evolved. Not only is this a gorgeous device that feels good in the hand, but the features Samsung has introduced really make it simple to use."
She added, "There are so many simple gestures and hidden tricks that even Im still discovering some of them."