Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Breaking news: Samsung Galaxy S III - global shortage of "Pebble Blue" handsets imminent?

Could this have been the last time I hold
a Pebble Blue Galaxy S III?

Ruh-Roh Galaxy S III fans.

If you were after a Pebble Blue handset at launch, and every forum post I've seen suggests most of you were, it looks like trouble is on the horizon.

Details after the break...

It may not have escaped the attention of perceptive readers that the Galaxy S III went on sale in Dubai earlier this week. It also may not have escaped the eye of the very attentive that only the Marble White version of the handset was available there at launch. Like many I didn't make too much of this at the time, there could have been lots of reasons for launching in only one colour (for example carrier preference - we saw this in NZ with the launch of the One X which is only being carried in white by Telecom NZ). It turns out there may be more to it than that however, and unfortunately the news isn't looking good for the significant majority of buyers who wanted the Pebble Blue version at release: there may be a worldwide shortage.

The story has unfolded throughout the week here in NZ, starting with Telecom's press release regarding S III pre-orders; they announced they are only getting the Marble White one at launch. This news didn't particularly raise hackles at that stage, given their decision to run with only the white version of the One X also.

Fast forward a few days, and the plot thickened a little more, as we saw Vodafone New Zealand announce their own launch promotion, also sans Pebble Blue S III variant.


...and then today we have news from Warehouse Stationary, who were the first in NZ to announce pre-order sales of the Galaxy S III. They confirm that they too will not be receiving stock of the Pebble Blue handset until mid-June.

We're not entirely sure about the reasons behind this apparent shortage, but enquiring minds at Geekzone have been on the case today. One source claims to have had confirmation from two major retailers that there has been a production problem with colour matching the Pebble Blue rear casing, and that production was halted while this was addressed (thanks Und3f). Alarmingly this looks consistent on face value with the reason a Telecom NZ CSR gave another sleuth from Geekzone (thanks beehappy for the information!):

Hi XXXXX

I have heard back from our Mobile Provisioning team this morning.

Samsung Global had reported there is significant demand for the SG III Pebble Blue device globally

Samsung have only started production for worldwide distribution on the SG III Pebble Blues this week, so worldwide deliveries will be affected.

Our expected delivery date is 7 June, however this a tentative date only.

Kind regards,

XXXXXXX
Customer Care Online

Naturally we're not completely convinced, knowing the sort of hearsay that CSRs often come out with rather than admit they don't know the answer, but in concert with the definite confirmation of only white handsets at release from all major carriers in NZ a consistent picture is starting to build. It's not a pretty picture. That said, we can't help but wonder whether higher priority markets like the UK will receive whatever stock is available of the Pebble Blue colour at release.

The angry backlash looks like it's already simmering at Geekzone, with some even suggesting they might take a pass on the S3 altogether unless the Pebble Blue is forthcoming ASAP.

How do you feel about this, if it comes to pass? Will this potentially affect your decision to get a Galaxy S III? Will you wait for Pebble Blue, or live with the near-universally disliked Marble White version??? Drop us a line in comments to let us know!

[UPDATE] It seems buyers in Thailand and Malaysia are also discovering that only Marble White is available for purchase at launch.

[UPDATE] Major electronics retailer JB HiFi, who were still saying they had stock of Pebble Blue incoming earlier today now confirm only Marble White available through them.

[UPDATE] Dutch site tweakers.net is reporting that production problems to the Pebble Blue rear-casing have been confirmed by Samsung Benelux PR Manager Vivian Peters. They report that Samsung has destroyed 600,000 of the rear casings and made adjustments to the production process, however the adjustments will not prevent delays in  bringing Pebble Blue to that market.

[UPDATE] Samsung Sweden have confirmed the delay on their Facebook page after enquiries from people who found out about supply difficulties through AndroidNZ. They estimate it will arrive only days after the white one, and apologise for not leading with the information themselves (sorry Samsung Sweden, it wasn't our intention to land you in it, although as you've acknowledged it may have been better if the news had come from you?).

[UPDATE] ...and today Clove Technologies in the UK confirm they face delays - one day for Marble White handsets and yet to be determined length of time for the Pebble Blue.