Samsung Galaxy S III Hits EMEA

5:45 AM -- For those looking for a real alternative to the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone, the wait may be over, at least for smartphone fans in certain parts of the world.

The Samsung Corp. Galaxy S III (or S3 as it's also known), unveiled on May 3, becomes available today in 28 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), including France, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the U.K. (See Samsung Unveils the Galaxy 3.)

Among the device's many attributes is S Voice, Samsung's voice-control answer to Apple's Siri. (See OS Watch: Samsung Humanizes the Smartphone.)

Advance demand has been strong, with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) saying (in a statement issued by Samsung, in Korean) that it has generated the highest volume of pre-orders for any Android-based device. If demand is robust during the next few months then Samsung's new position as the world's leading mobile device manufacturer could be cemented. (See Nokia Loses Its Mobile Crown.)

In the U.K., the device is available on a contract (minimum 24 months, including 2GB of data, unlimited texts and 900 minutes of calls) from Vodafone for £41 (US$64.36) per month. It's also available to the British public through Three UK UK and independent retailers Carphone Warehouse Group plc (London: CPW) and Phones 4u Ltd.

The smartphone will become available through 296 operators in 145 markets, including the U.S., during the course of the next month.

See this BBC piece for more background, particularly the video element, where, from about the two-minute mark, CCS Insight Chief Analyst Ben Wood assesses the potential impact of the S III.

Light Reading has already taken a look at the impact it might have on mobile networks. (See Samsung's New Galaxy: A Data Hog Approaches.)

For an incredibly in-depth look at the device, check out this Slashgear review.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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