Samsung Galaxy S4 lands on Bangalore, hundreds get in line

By Reuters Staff
April 27, 2013

By Sayantani Ghosh and Supantha Mukherjee

“I’m very excited. I’ve been waiting a couple of hours; I couldn’t get any sleep last night,” said Arif, an employee of UK retailer Tesco. He was near the front of the line of hundreds of people to line up at the UB City Mall in Bangalore to buy the new Galaxy S4 smartphone.

The phone went on sale at the Samsung store on Saturday, and Arif waited for about two hours for the privilege of spending 41,500 rupees, or about $763, on the new model, which comes with a 5-inch screen and 13-megapixel camera, and runs on Google’s Android platform.

Samsung is trying to increase its lead over Apple, a possibility for the South Korean company, considering the preference of many Indian shoppers for a good discount over products priced at the top of the line compared to their competitors. Both companies are now handing out discounts on some of their older models. The S4 also is competing with other phones on sale in India such as the HTC One and the BlackBerry Z10, not to mention Apple’s iPhone 5 — its primary rival.

Manu Sharma, Samsung India’s director for its mobile business, said Samsung is looking forward to selling more Galaxy S4s than previous phones in the line. The S3 has sold more than 50 million units since its launch last year, the Wall Street Journal reported in March.

Sharma also promised that there would be no supply problems that forced it to begin selling the S4 later than planned in the United States. The S4 is going on sale in the United States on Saturday as well, and warned that supply problems might strike there. Its reason for this? Better-than-expected demand, of course.

In Bangalore, crowd control was more of a problem than availability. People waited impatiently in a queue that snaked past a near-empty Apple Imagine store. Some people tried to shove and jump the queue, while some got into arguments with store guards who were trying to maintain order. For technology fans in India’s IT capital, arguing that it’s “just a phone” probably wouldn’t make much of an impression anyway.

(Photos by Sayantani Ghosh)

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The cost of Apple Inc. neglecting the Indian Market is a generation of loyal “Samsung” customers and an entrenched Android user-base.

If Apple can’t attract the young and savvy technophiles, they have lost their core customer base.

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