How did Samsung keep Galaxy S III a secret?

Locked boxes and no photos helped the handset maker keep details of the highly anticipated smartphone shrouded in mystery.

Samsung went to great lengths to hide the Galaxy S III, even from other company departments. Samsung Tomorrow

In the weeks leading up to the formal unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Internet was full of rumors, conjecture, and a smattering of "leaks." In some cases we saw dummy displays, and other seemingly legitimate fanboy fodder, but for everything that landed online, no one leak turned out to be 100 percent accurate.

So how was Samsung able to keep the Galaxy S III shrouded in mystery? As Samsung tells us in a new blog post, it was a combination of tight lips, isolation, and multiple prototypes.

Don't say a word
One way to ensure word doesn't get out on any secret project is to simply keep quiet. It's not a new concept, but it's one that works. Indeed, the Samsung team relied on employees to remain tight-lipped. In some cases, family members weren't even sure whether their fathers were involved with the Galaxy S III.

"My eldest son is in 6th grade...knew that I had worked on the Galaxy S and S II... 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." -- Principal Engineer ByungJoon Lee (Mechanical R&D)

Unlike with previous smartphone releases where Samsung would lump its entire team together to deal with issues and roadblocks, with the Galaxy S III the company created separate labs with security cards and fingerprint readers. That way Samsung was able to keep track of anyone and everyone who accessed the privileged information. And if you're not working on the handset you don't need to see it!

Three-card monte
Prototype devices were placed in security boxes when moved around, even if it was just a quick trip across the hall. What's more, Samsung created no less than three different designs and treated each as if it would be the final product. And rather than risk a leak through a third-party team to deliver products to partners and suppliers, Samsung would personally deliver the various Galaxy S III designs. Perhaps this was the reason for so many different rumors for the Galaxy S III?

No pictures, please
Once in front of vendors, Samsung made sure that no pictures were taken. This would prove to be a challenge for all involved as the procurement team had to place orders for parts based on verbal descriptions of materials.

"Because we were only permitted to see the products and others weren't," explained Principal Engineer ByungJoon Lee (Mechanical R&D),"we couldn't send pictures or drawings. We had to explain the Galaxy S III with all sorts of words.

Even without the blog post, it's obvious that Samsung went to great lengths to keep its Galaxy S III a secret. Given the hype building for this summer's Android release, I'd say they did good job of hiding it from the public. With but a few days to go before the Galaxy S III begins hitting various U.S. carriers , I wonder when they will start development on the next big thing. That is, assuming they aren't already up to something.

 

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