After months of rumors and speculation, the Samsung Galaxy S III was officially introduced at a large press conference in London back at the beginning of this month. Fast-forward a few weeks and now the general public will be getting its first crack at the Galaxy S III, as Samsung has officially announced that its newest flagship device is launching in 28 countries today. The list of lucky markets includes the U.K., France and Saudi Arabia. If you're not in one of the countries included in today's launch (like those of us in the U.S.), you may not have to wait too long for your chance to pick one up, as Samsung has said that it expects to offer the Galaxy S III on 296 carriers in 145 countries by the time July rolls around.
Not all of the news surround the Galaxy S III is good today, though. Samsung has confirmed that a "short supply" the pebble blue version of the Galaxy S III will be available in some areas in the next two to three weeks. The company explains that the blue variant features a unique hyperglaze material and that, as a result of its need to meet high quality standards, stock of the phone will be short initially. Samsung's full statement is as follows:
"Samsung's GALAXY S III Pebble Blue version comes with a newly invented blue color and special hyperglaze material. In order to meet the highest internal quality standards and to provide the best quality GALAXY S III to customers, a short supply of Pebble Blue version is expected in some regions in the next 2-3 weeks. Samsung is working hard to ensure that customers will get the Pebble Blue colored devices as soon as possible."
Finally, Samsung has launched a new Music Hub app and premium service. Launching initially with the Galaxy S III in the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Italy, the free Music Hub service allows users to buy songs from a 19 million track catalog and then store them in the cloud or locally. Meanwhile, the Music Hub Premium service is priced at £9.99 (around $15) per month and allows users to stream tracks from a 19 million song catalog on up to five devices and from a browser on a PC or Mac.
For music that you own that isn't available in that catalog, Samsung offers the ability to scan your library and upload up to 100GB of music to a cloud library for streaming in Music Hub. The service also features radio stations and music recommendations. Music Hub is only available with the Galaxy S III for now, but Samsung promises that it's coming to devices like the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note soon. There's no word yet on when U.S. customers will be able to sign up for the service.
The Samsung Galaxy S III is one of the more hotly anticipated Android phones in recent memory, and considering all of the leaks, rumors and hype leading up to its introduction, it's good to see the thing finally making its way to market. Samsung is remaining quiet on precisely when we'll see the Galaxy S III in the U.S., but a recent rumor claimed that it could be hitting T-Mobile as soon as June 20th. If you need something to help you pass the time until then, you can check out Aaron's first look at the GSIII below, and we've also got videos showcasing TouchWiz, its camera and other features. How many of you are planning on picking up a Galaxy S III when it finally comes stateside?