It sounds like Samsung’s having trouble manufacturing the “pebble blue” variant of its just-launched Galaxy S III smartphone, and that could wind up delaying its availability to mid or even late June. The rumor started a few days ago, and Samsung’s now confirmed it by releasing an official statement (via Mobile Fun) that the problems are real and have to do with the “newly invented blue colour and special hyper-glaze material” used to color the phone’s plastic casing.
“In order to meet the highest internal quality standards and to provide the best quality Galaxy SIII to customers, a short supply of Pebble Blue version is expected in some regions in the next 2-3 weeks,” said Samsung, adding that it’s “working hard to ensure that customers will get the Pebble Blue coloured devices as soon as possible.”
Last Friday, a user on Reddit noticed a Tweakers.net report (in Dutch), which claimed that while the Galaxy S III was already on sale in certain countries, only the white version was available, and that this was due to manufacturing issues with the blue version’s casing. According to the report, Samsung had been forced to yank around 600,000 blue cases due to the issue, though the white version was said to be a-okay.
The Reddit user translated an email reportedly received from Scandinavian retailer CDON.com about the color casing delay:
Dear customer, Thank you [for ordering] a Samsung Galaxy SIII Blue Pebble [from] us. We are sorry to announce that we will not deliver it on release date, which is on [5/29]. This is because the supplier has suddenly stopped all deliveries of the blue mobile.
The Galaxy S III is Samsung’s latest, greatest Android phone with a monster 4.8-inch screen, quad-core processor, 1GB of memory and an 8-megapixel camera. It’s available in two launch colors: “pebble blue” and “marble white.” Some retailers, including Amazon, began taking pre-orders for the international version of the new phone a week ago, charging as much as $800.
If you already pre-ordered a blue Galaxy S III, you’ll want keep an eye on your retailer for updates, though I’m assuming it’ll be some time before retailers have new allocation figures in hand. Assuming high demand for this phone, I wonder if we won’t see a run on the “marble white” version, resulting in delays all around.
[Update: SlashGear just noticed an interesting photo (below) of a Mobile Bulgaria blue Galaxy S III review unit, in which the back of the phone manifests what almost looks like a water stain (a glaze drying issue?). SlashGear speculates the discoloration could be the reason Samsung's had to rethink the blue model, and that it could in theory affect the white version, which uses a similar "hyper-glaze" material, but that against a white backdrop, the discrepancies aren't visible.]