Samsung’s latest Android flagship, the Galaxy S4 (SGS4), has started selling from 4pm last Saturday, 27 April 2013. Following the previous successes of the Galaxy line of Samsung smartphones, this has to be one of the most anticipated smartphone launches of this year. In fact, the SGS4 would begin selling across many markets this weekend, including much of Europe and the U.S.
In Singapore, Samsung will give launch customers $160 worth of accessories: a desktop dock, a car charger, and a MHL-HDMI adapter. Each of our three local telcos had different launch mechanisms, and slightly differing freebies.
At SingTel: A big roadshow at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza. SGS4 sales are also by pre-booked appointment, only for customers who had registered their interest.
At M1: A smaller roadshow in front of Wisma Atria. SGS4 sales are on first-come-first-served basis, only for customers who had registered their interest. M1 included additional 1GB in the mobile data plan too.
At StarHub: No roadshow. Sales by pre-booked appointment or home delivery, only for customers who had registered their interest. StarHub threw in an additional 2GB in the mobile data plan (apparently limited to the first 6 months of new contract).
All telco sales require a new 2-year mobile contract.
I went to the SingTel roadshow. I must admit I was somewhat apprehensive about the experience that I might encounter there, having heard all the horror stories of various other launch events (not necessarily those of SingTel’s) in previous years. You know, things like queues that start like 12 hours before, arguments or fights that break out, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised with SingTel’s handling of this launch. They had set up a rather sizeable area for the queue to get a queue number (and to verify eligibility to be in the queue at all), but there was no one in the queue. I was attended to immediately.
By the time I got my queue number, and was trying to figure out where to look out for my queue number to be called, I found that my number had already been called, and it was already like halfway down the screen of called numbers.
Needless to say, I was attended to immediately at the counter to get my SGS4. There was also zero queue waiting at payment.
I can only say that SingTel must had under-allocated the pre-book appointment slots, and grossly over-provisioned resources for the roadshow. Of course, no customer would complain about the speedy experience.
There were so many things to do at the roadshow I wouldn’t even have minded a short wait. There were so many display sets of the SGS4 available, you wouldn’t find any difficulty laying your hands on one to try out. Apart from the SGS4, there were also the Galaxy S III with LTE, as well as the Galaxy Note 2.
When you are done playing with the demo sets, you can just sit down and enjoy the live band playing on stage. Or grab some popcorn. Or browse accessories for sale, etc.
All in all, I must commend SingTel for their great event management of this launch.
The only thing that bothered me was that I was signed up for a whole bunch of silly services I didn’t ask for and I didn’t need. Worse, I wasn’t even told about them.