There’s no denying it, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a sensational device, but although Samsung is seemingly able to push out devices faster than any other manufacturer on the scene, the S3 was a different type of project entirely and we're learning from the engineers involved, just how difficult it was to produce a flagship fit for the scrutinous eye of the consumer, one that involved three prototypes. No pressure then.
Of course the leaks, blurrycam photos and covert video footage are almost unavoidable with a smartphone as important as Samsung’s new flagship, but secrecy was considered paramount as Principal Engineer ByungJoon Lee, explains on official blog Samsung Tomorrow. When talking about his son, “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.’
Aside from having to keep their work and home lives very much separate, inter-departmental secrecy was also of prime concern.
To avoid design leaks there were three different prototypes, but all were fully working, so the engineers had to repeat each process three times.
According to the engineering team, the S3 development team operated out of a separate, fingerprint-locked lab which, resulting in a logistical nightmare when trying to co-ordinate fixes to problems which spanned multiple departments. Prototypes were moved using blacked-out security boxes, the ultimate deterrent to prying eyes, well enough at least to prevent said prying eyes from catching a glimpse of the unfinished smartphone.
Principle Engineer WooSun Yoon said, “We had to make three types of the GALAXY SIII to prevent the design from leaking. And on top of that, whenever any of these had to go out for testing, we put them inside ‘dummy boxes’, which are cases that hide the design of the device, to disguise it.”
Only the core design team was allowed to actually see the phone and pictures or drawings weren't even allowed to be sent out internally - in fact the Procurement Department set a price and bought materials based on a description.
Even if you're not a Samsung fan, the post on Samsung Tomorrow is worth checking out, it's interesting insight into how a flagship smartphone is made. No doubt Apple's engineering team have to undertake in some pretty similar practices - especially since the iPhone lost-in-a-bar incident.