Few build-ups to a gadget launch have matched that of the Samsung Galaxy S3, which hit stores last month amid full-blown consumer fervour. But little did we know just how gruelling the manufacturing process was for the Korean engineers, and the lengths they had to go to in order to keep the project under wraps.
So desperate was Samsung to avoid any leaks before the official launch, three prototypes were built concurrently with the same meticulous care as if they were each the final design. The prototypes were put in security boxes just to be moved across the hallway so passers-by couldn't catch even the slightest glimpse.
A separate lab was established for the S3 design with security card and fingerprint readers ensuring only the select few who had been approved for the project could pass. Third party logistics companies could not be trusted for prototype deliveries, so employees were forced to go on multi-country tours just to deliver the models.
With such stringent measures in place, ultimately to limit episodes like these few leaks, the engineers had to live top secret double-lives where even family and friends were kept firmly out the loop.
"I got so many questions about the Galaxy S3 from friends and family", said Senior Engineer Young Doo Jin. "But I'd say ‘don't ask me or you'll get me fired.'"
Principal engineer Byung Joon Lee found it difficult deflecting questions from his teenage son. "Every time he saw an article on the internet about the Galaxy S3 he'd ask ‘Dad! You're making the S3, right?' But all I could say was ‘I don't really know.' It was really awkward."
But colleague Yong Min Ha appeared to find the undercover process more straightforward, joking, "I love my wife and my adorable kids. But I just never told them about my job from the beginning!"
Byung Joon explained communication wasn't just difficult with the team's families, however. "Because we were only permitted to see the products and others weren't, we couldn't send pictures or drawings. We had to explain the [phone] with all sorts of words. The Procurement Department had to set a price for the S3 and purchase the materials based on our verbal explanations. It was hard for everyone I guess!"
Summing up the sentiment of the exhausted team, Woo Sun Yoo added, "I'm glad we were able to keep the new Galaxy S3 under wraps to the end, but I can't stress enough how hard it was."
(ed : One has to wonder whether they will work on the S4 now that their cover has been blown).
Source: Samsung Tomorrow