Before Samsung officially announced the Galaxy S III we saw a number of leaks that ended up as fakes. The fake Galaxy S III phones were part of Samsung’s plan to keep the design of the final product a secret until launch.
Samsung detailed the security in the Samsung Tomorrow blog. It turns out Samsung took some very Apple-like moves to ensure nobody saw the actual final design of the smartphone until the official launch.
The engineers that worked on the smartphone weren’t allowed to speak of the phone to friends and family. When curious loved ones asked they responded that they’d be fired for saying anything, or just claimed ignorance. We expect that sort of secrecy for many major devices, but the secrets aren’t always held from the rest of the company.
The engineers that worked on the Galaxy S III would toil away in separate labs with security cards, fingerprint scanners, and any other security features Samsung could think of (hopefully not Android face detection). The workers placed the prototypes in security boxes for any movement outside the labs so nobody else in the company would see them.
Samsung wouldn’t even let the engineers take photos or sketch the phone, so many had to work on the device from memory or even verbal explanations.
To make sure nobody really knew the final design, Samsung had its engineers work on several fake prototypes. After designing a part for the real phone, the engineers had to repeat the process for the fakes, so they essentially created a number of phones with the intention of only releasing one.
The security measures read like something out of Apple’s playbook, right down to the dummy boxes to disguise the phone in public. Samsung employees never left the phone in a bar in Seoul, so it didn’t copy everything from Apple, just the parts it wanted to.