Nothing brings South Africans closer together than good festivities. Gathering at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, Samsung put on quite a show for the audience, who packed the venue. There hasn’t been a greater buzz surrounding any gadget in South Africa, and with a record of 9 million pre-orders, the whole world seems to think so as well. Usually I’d skip all the registration details, but with the gift bag provided to each media house on the night, I think it’s worth a mention, came an Espresso machine. A separate press event was held within the venue at 5pm, after which the media were allowed some hands-on time with the Galaxy S3. Once all was ready, the actual start to the event was marked by a truck backing up into the venue, afterwards a few guys unloaded a few boxes from it. It turns out that these were in actual fact the dancers that would grace the floor as the opening act.
The host for the evening was none other than former Miss South Africa, Jo-Ann Strauss, who quickly got all the formalities and house rules out the way. A short while after she was joined on stage by comedian Mpho “Pops” Modikoane, and continued to present a few features, with a few AV clips in between. The only downside of the introduction was Jo-Ann’s “coloured” accent, which was an attempt at a localised joke, but left a rather bemused expression on a few faces. At least Pops was there to provide a laugh or two.
Representing Electronics South Africa on stage was Director of Mobile Communications, Craige Fleischer, and MD, Deon Liebenberg. They too spent some time going through features of the new flagship smartphone. If you’re curious as to why so much time was spent presenting features, then you need to take some time to go through the impressive list of new tricks and flicks of the Galaxy SIII.
Also in attendance, although only as special guests, were Randall Abrahams and a certain Mr. Daniel Koppel, otherwise known as Danny K. They quietly entered and left the event (once they were satisfied that they served their time).
After all the presentations and speeches, the rest of the audience were allowed some time with the devices on show. Needless to say, I was back at the stands going through almost all possible features to see what all the fuss was really about. All I have to say is that if you were one of the unlucky few to have already purchased a device this year, or chose to upgrade your contract early, you might be regret the decision. From the very first touch you can feel the marked difference between the SIII and its predecessor, the SII. With its smooth to touch screen, rounded edges, Quad-Core 1.4GHz CPU, continuous play video, and a host of other gimmicks, I can’t see how you could go wrong in owning this device for at least the next year, when hopefully it will give way to the SIIII (or S IV/S4).
The festivities really got under way when the crowd were introduced to Mi Casa. Usually at launch events of this nature, the schedule tends to rid itself of all presentations and formalities as early as possible, which then gives way to entertainment as the crowd slowly fades away. This time, however, it didn’t happen, or at least not as much. Mi Casa kept the stage for a good 60 minutes, with the crowd singing along to almost every song.
One can argue that the main reason people stayed behind was the prospect of winning 1 of 5 new Galaxy SIII’s. Be that as it may, there was still a fairly large crowd of people after the draw was read out and the lucky participants collected their prizes on stage.
The Galaxy SIII is officially available in South Africa from today at Vodacom, MTN and CellC. There were rumours that MTN would be boycotting the event due some politics, but I’m sure you wouldn’t care. It’s their loss. In terms of the colours for the Galaxy SIII, you can expect Pebble Blue only in Q3, so you have to make do with Marble White for now. The event was a real spectacle, and the most entertaining I’ve been to this far. Good food, good music, and free alcohol (for all those that indulged), and not to mention the main event, the Galaxy SIII, completed a good night out.
As always, I didn’t win 1 of the smartphones. Although I would trade it in at a moment’s notice for an SIII, at least I still have my Espresso machine to take home.