Secret Agent Samsung: How The Handset Maker Kept The Galaxy S III Hush-Hush

Samsung pulled off a sort of miracle last month by announcing the Samsung Galaxy S III prior to it leaking. Admittedly, the specs leaked, but the final design was kept a secret until the official reveal — a feat even more impressive considering the sheer amount of leaked images claiming to be the phone. So how did Samsung do it? Well, as the company explains on its blog, it wasn’t easy. It seems Samsung turned the secrecy dial to the Apple level.

“I got so many questions about the GALAXY S III from friends and family”, Senior Engineer YoungDoo Jin (S/W R&D) revealed to Samsung Tomorrow. “But I’d say ‘don’t ask me or you’ll get me fired.’ I told them to check it out after it was officially made public.”

“My eldest son is in 6th grade,” said Principal Engineer Byung Joon Lee. “He knew that I had worked on the GALAXY S and S II. So I guess he 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.”

But it was more than swearing engineers to secrecy.

Samsung developed three different prototypes that made it to the final stage. This apparently caused many repetitive tasks as engineers had to design, and then redesign, nearly every part of the product several times. Likewise, prototypes where closely guarded secrets even within the office. “Prototypes were put in security boxes to be moved, even just across the hallway, to prevent passers-by from catching a glimpse,” explains the Samsung blog. Of course, pictures were not permitted.

In the cutthroat world of blogging, things can get a bit wild and crazy when it comes to photos of unreleased hardware and software. Many of the times, the so-called Mr. Blurrycam photos, are actually intentionally leaked, designed to drum up a bit of hype for an unannounced product. Sometimes, when the stars are aligned just right, the gods smile down upon us and deliver a legitimate leaked photo. But the gods were on vacation for the Samsung Galaxy S III. Even though there were a boatload of so-called leaks, none of them turned out to be the real thing.