In a lavish opening at Sydney's Capitol Theatre, Samsung officially launched the Galaxy S3 in Australia, with the handset onsale as of 11am today.
While much has been written about the S3's hardware and design, the launch looked at some of the functionality that the handset will provide. Perhaps most novel are the functions that work with the front facing camera and proximity sensor such as Smart Stay, that keeps the screen on when it recognises that a user is making eye contact with it, or Direct Call, that will dial a contact if you raise the phone to your ear when messaging that person.
The business applications of the Galaxy S3 were also touted, with Tyler McGee, vice president of telecommunications with Samsung Australia pointing to functionality for virtualisation, active Exchange sync messaging and enterprise security solutions at the launch.
Consumers are well catered for too, the the S3 shipping with a Quickflix app. The service will initially cost $14.99/month with a pay-per-view option being introduced at a later stage. Samsung said it was in discussions with carriers about providing bandwidth free access to Quickflix but nothing has been finalised.
Pricing was announced at $899 outright for the 16GB model, with McGee unable to give a cost on the 32GB unit although he noted it would be be available soon. McGee also denied that there where availability issues with the "pebble blue" model but did admit that only the "marble white" unit was available today with the blue onsale "by the weekend".
No carrier pricing announcements were made at the event, although all major telcos made separate releases about the Galaxy S3's availability on their respective networks.
For Telstra consumer customers the S3 will be on the $79 Freedom Connect Plan with a $3 handset repayment per month, with 2GB of data. It's also available on Telstra’s $59 Freedom Connect Plan with a $13 handset payment per month. Telstra business customers can get the S3 for $17 per monthon the $59 Business Mobile Maximiser with 1.5GB of data.
Virgin Mobile has a wide variety of plans ranging from $29 with a $20 handset payment and 250MB of data, up to the $89 plan, with 4GB of data and no additional fees.
On Optus, the S3 will be available on either the $60 or $80 plans for both Business and Consumer. Handset repayments for the 16GB model will be $5 on the $60 plan or $0 for existing customers and $0 for either on the $80 plan. For the 32GB model, repayments are $10 on the $60 plan ($5 for eligible existing customers) and $5 on the $80 plan ($0 for eligible existing customers).
Finally, Vodafone announced it would double its usual data allowances for the first 12 months of its 24 month plans for the S3. The 16GB handset will cost $5 per month on Vodafone's $59 plan over 24-months and the 32GB will be $10 per month on the same plan. Data is usually 1.5GB, with the special offer allowing for 3GB per month for the first 12 months. This offer is across Vodafone's full range of S3 plans, up to 8GB for the $99 Infinite plan.