Hundreds of the hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy SIIIs were leaked to retailers in the UAE in the five days ahead of the official launch, causing the phone to be out of stock on the official launch day.
Customers wanting the phone might now face weeks of delay after Samsung conceded yesterday that the new model was in short supply.
"Sales have been very, very good. Extremely good," said Nadeem Khanzadah, the deputy general manager for retail at Jumbo Electronics. "The sales were as per expectations because there was a lot of hype. This is being talked about as the first real iPhone killer."
Jumbo Electronics had sold out of the phones before the day of the launch. The SIII was also not available in Samsung's Dubai Mall store or at Axiom Telecom and Jacky's Electronics.
"Officially the launch is today, but we were the first region in the world to have stocks," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer at Jacky's, which also sold out ahead of the launch. "We got a couple of hundred units and everything went, so we are waiting for stocks again. It looks like the phone is going to be huge."
The SIII, which tracks its user's eye movements to ensure the screen does not dim or turn off when in use, was launched yesterday in 28 European and Middle Eastern countries, including the UAE.
"The Samsung Galaxy SIII will officially launch today and Axiom is offering customers a unique experience when purchasing the handset at Dh2,499 [US$680], in either pebble blue or marble white," Axiom Telecom said in a statement yesterday morning. But the phone was not available in either of its stores in Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates.
The manufacturer said yesterday that the pebble blue model was in short supply.
Retailers in the UAE said they expected the phone to be in short supply over the coming weeks.
"We are trying to get whatever we can get our hands on," said Omar Kassim, the chief executive and founder of JadoPado, an online retailer. "As soon as it comes in, it gets sold. We should know in the next day and a half or two days when we will get stocks."
The SIII is expected to continue to be a big hit among consumers as it goes head-to-head with Apple's iPhone 5, which is rumoured to be going on sale in the third quarter.
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