It's finally here. Well, almost. Samsung has revealed details of its hotly anticipated Galaxy S III Android phone, the most anticipated phone of 2012 so far. It boasts a 4.8in Super AMOLED HD display and an 8-megapixel camera that captures 1080p HD video, but largely focuses on software innovation in a bid to become the best Android phone on the market. So, when can Aussies get their hands on it?
During the unveiling of the Galaxy S III event in London, Samsung stated the device would be available "at the end of May" in the US, Korea, Japan and various European markets. That loose timeframe has now been confirmed as Tuesday 29 May. However, there has been no word of an Australian release just yet. This may mean that Aussies might have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the Galaxy S III.
Officially, all Samsung Australia has said is that it has "no plans to make any announcements at this time". It's certainly feasible that Telstra, Optus and Vodafone could announce availability in the coming week, in line with the global end of May launch globally.
If there is any delay in an Australian release of the Galaxy S III through the carriers, however, it's likely to be a boom for online retailers such as MobiCity and Kogan. These stores will sell the Galaxy S III through what is known as grey importing, also called parallel importing. A grey import tech product is one that is imported from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner, in this case Samsung. This can be achieved by an Australian business that buys the product overseas and then sells it online, or simply an International business that will ship the product to Australia.
Is a grey import Galaxy S III different to the Australian model?
The differences between an Australian model and an imported model are likely to be minimal, sans local telco software customisation. The main difference will be carrier branding, often in the form of a telco logo when you turn the phone on and some apps and services.
How many models of the Galaxy S III are there?
There will initially be two models of the Samsung Galaxy S III around the world: a HSDPA+ variant in 16GB and 32GB sizes. A 64GB model will be added in the near future, though Samsung hasn't set a specific date.
Samsung has also promised a 4G LTE-capable model, though the details on this are sparse and will vary from market to market. It is not yet known if Australia will receive an LTE model Galaxy S III to work on Telstra's network.
The HSDPA+ Galaxy S III will work on all Australian 3G networks including Telstra's 850MHz Next G network, the 900MHz and 2100MHz networks used by Optus and Vodafone, and Vodafone's new 850MHz network.
Where can I purchase the Galaxy S III?
You can order the Galaxy S III online from a variety of Web sites including both Australian and International retailers.
Australian online stores
The Samsung Galaxy S III is likely to eventually be sold through a number of Australian stores, but one of the more reputable is MobiCity. It currently lists the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions for $799, $899 and $999, respectively. These prices are likely to change over time. The 16GB and 32GB models are expected to ship on Tuesday 29 May, so you should receive the phone a few days later.
MobiCity is slightly pricier than other alternatives, but it does offer a 12 month Australian warranty. This is not a Samsung warranty, but is serviced by a company called Australian Warranty Services. The basic warranty that comes with any MobiCity purchase includes replacement within the first 48 hours if the product is dead on arrival (DOA), an assessment guarantee within 48 hours of receipt and a repair guarantee within 30 days. MobiCity also says that a replacement device will be offered if it is unable to repair the Galaxy S III within the guaranteed timeframe.
Kogan also sells the Galaxy S III. Like MobiCity, it sells all three models in both colour variants for $789, $889 and $989, respectively. Kogan says the expected dispatch date is Mon 28th May, so pre-orders should be delivered about two or three days later. Kogan offers a standard 12 month warranty which claims Australia-wide repairs along with phone and e-mail support.
Expansys is another Australian site that will sell the Galaxy S III. It lists all three models of the smartphone for pre-order but only provides a price ($745) for the 16GB model.
Expansys offers a three month repair warranty with an entitlement to a full refund or replacement within 14 days from the date of dispatch in the event of a faulty product, or simply if you've changed your mind. The latter only applies if the phone is in as new condition with no missing packaging, accessories and manuals. Additionally, Expansis offers an optional one year extended warranty (three months basic warranty plus 12 months extended) for an extra cost of $30.
International online stores
Australian sites aside, there are also a number of international sites who will ship the Galaxy S III. Two of the most popular are the UK pair Handtek and Clove. Clove only lists the 16GB model of the Galaxy S III at this stage in both blue and white colours. You can order it for £429.00 plus £29.00 for shipping down under totalling £458 — around $726 Australian dollars at the time of writing.
Like Clove, Handtek only lists the 16GB model of the Galaxy S III for pre-order. The pre-order price is listed as £416.49 with £26.90 for shipping for a total of £443.39 — around $703 Australian dollars. Both Clove and Handtek list the availability of the phone as "the end of May".
Found a site that will ship the Galaxy S III to Australia? Prefer to wait for a local release? Let us know in the comments below!