Samsung Electronics has launched its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy SIII in the Indian market, at a marked retail price of Rs 43,180. Unveiling the phone at an event in New Delhi, the company announced that it would be available at its exclusive Samsung Smartphone Cafes and Samsung Plaza outlets, starting tomorrow, and at all dealer outlets starting Monday, 4th June. The company will offer a free bundled data plan for Vodafone subscribers, which will include 3GB of data per month, for a two month period.

Pre-Booking & E-commerce: Answering our query on the company’s strategy for online sales and the number of pre-bookings that the phone received online, Samsung Executives said that the company received more than 1,000, pre-bookings, in addition to 25,000 queries. Note that customers needed to pay a pre-booking amount of Rs 2,000 which was non-refundable. They did not specifically shed light on Samsung’s e-commerce strategy and said that all sales channels were equally important for the company.

It’s interesting to note that Samsung had once reportedly pulled up LetsBuy for selling below the marked price.  At the time of writing this post, we received a communication from Homeshop18 informing us that the site is retailing the Galaxy SIII at Rs 38,900.Flipkart is also taking pre-orders at the same price, while Samsung’s e-Store is selling the phone at Rs 42,500. We wonder how the company plans to restrict online stores to sell at prices below the marked price.

Content tie-ups: Samsung will offer pre-loaded Indian apps and content channels on the Galaxy SIII, including a movie streaming service – My Movies powered by BigFlix, music download service – My Music, an e-book and newspaper/magazine reader- My Reader from Mediology Software which the company claims, features 300,000 books including audio books; a Mobile TV app powered by Apalya, and MyStation – an app that offers live concerts, performances and videos of various artists. The phone also includes Handy, an app that allows users to search, book and pay for flights, bus tickets, movie tickets and book restaurant tables. It also features Game Hub, offering social games.

Specifications & Features: The phone sports high-end specifications including a 1.4 GHz quad core processor, Android 4.0 with Samsung’s own UI, a 4.8 inch Super AMOLED display, an 8 Megapixel back and a 1.9 Megapixel front camera.

Its features include the ability to play video while performing other tasks, in addition to artificial intelligence capabilities including a voice driven assistant (on the lines of Apple’s SIRI), face and voice recognition, direct dial- allowing users to automatically dial a contact’s number if they decide to call in the midst of keying in a message and smart alerts- where the phone will notify missed calls and messages on being picked up after being idle.

The Galaxy SIII also features an expanded version of the Android Beam NFC capability , calling it S-Beam, allowing users to exchange heavy files between two Galaxy SIII phones, in a short time, in addition to offering AllShare Play DLNA based sharing over wifi networks.