BERLIN – Germans take their days off very seriously, but in the early hours of May 29, just after a Monday holiday when most stores were closed in Berlin, many were up bright and early for the new Samsung Galaxy S III.
The new Android smartphone went on sale in 28 countries across Europe and the Middle East on Tuesday, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom. It is expected to be available in the United States in June and in a total of 145 countries by July.
Excitement over the launch is high among smartphone users. Reuters reported that Berliners lined up outside an electronic store late on Monday night to be among the first to get the new smartphone.
In the first quarter of this year, Android smartphones have eclipsed sales of Apple’s popular iPhone, and the Korean-based Samsung is the primary driver. There have been more than 9 million reported advance orders for the Galaxy S III, making it the most pre-ordered phone in history.
The new phone has a 4.8-inch (12.2 cm) screen and a host of special features including a camera that senses when its owner’s eyes are no longer on the screen and dims it to save power. The Galaxy III’s “Pop-up Play” feature allows users to play a game and watch a video at the same time. The new phone also has “S-Voice,” a voice recognition program similar to the iPhone’s Siri.
The launch of the Galaxy S3 appeared to go smoothly with one slight exception. There were some reports of delays in delivering the “Pebble Blue” version of the phone in some countries, meaning a few European and Middle Eastern customers will have to wait to get their new Galaxy phone—perhaps even as long as those in the United States