Best value iPhone 4S plans: Telstra the analysts' pickApple line | Samsung line
Samsung has ambushed the launch of the iPhone 4S by offering $2 smartphones in a temporary shop just metres away from the official Sydney Apple store.
A queue - longer than that outside Apple's store - was seen outside the Samsung "pop up" store at 8am today, with those in line hoping to get their hands on a new Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone for the nominal price of $2.
Some waiting in line had been there since Monday, with the store only letting the first 10 in line each day receive the $2 phone. Those waiting since Monday were those wanting the next day's batch of phones.
It comes just days after Samsung said it halted the unveiling of a new Google Android phone as a sign of respect for those mourning the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
The South Korean company this week rented a store just two doors down from the Sydney Apple store to promote the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone and its new online music subscription service, Music Hub.
The iPhone 4S, Apple's latest revision of its smartphone, goes on sale at 8am on Friday.
Samsung is one of Apple's strongest competitors, with its Galaxy S II smartphone making inroads against the iPhone 4.
Samsung's tablets are also receiving favourable reviews despite attempts by Apple to use the courts to prevent the tablets from going to market.
Samsung has also filed suit in both France and Italy in an attempt to block the iPhone 4S from launching but has not filed a similar suit in Australia.
It's not the first time the smartphone wars have extended into guerilla marketing tactics. At an HTC event last year Nokia representatives were outside HTC's launch venue in London and the Finnish phone maker even handed out HTC press conference "survival kits" to journalists.
Nokia also purchased advertising on high-profile sites such as Fairfax Media's smh.com.au on the day the iPhone 4S was unveiled last week, which advertised its N9 smartphone.
An embargoed version of Samsung's Music Hub release that went out to select media on September 30 did not include the fact that Samsung would rent the "pop up" store on George Street.
A general media release sent on the night of the Music Hub launch last Thursday - the day Jobs died and just one day after the announcement of the iPhone 4S - did, however, include the fact.
Fife Capital's Gareth Sneade, who manages the $24 million building Samsung has used part of for the week, told Fairfax that Samsung approached it within the last three months to rent the bottom floor store front of the building.
Mr Sneade wouldn't disclose how much Fife was leasing the property to Samsung for but said it was providing short-term month-to-month leases to anyone who wanted one. He was ''unaware'' of Samsung's future intentions with the property after Friday and said Samsung ''was a good fit'' to have renting its property. Samsung said it had "no plans" to continue renting the property beyond Friday.
The building is yet to be renovated and had a development application approved by the City of Sydney in May. Clothing store Fletcher Jones previously rented the store front, according to land title records.
Sydney school students Tom Mosca, of West Hoxton, and Wil Batterham, of Chatswood, both 15, have lined up outside Apple's George Street store before Friday's iPhone 4S launch. They arrived at 10.30am yesterday.
The two boys - who are good friends and first met in line waiting for the iPad 2 earlier this year - said many people had approached them trying to convince them to stand in the Samsung line instead of the Apple line.
"There's this guy who has come up to us trying to convince us to buy the Samsung Galaxy S II two days in a row now," said Tom. "And he's an idiot.
"The amount of people asking what we are lining up for is absolutely astonishing," said Wil.
Wil said the iPhone 4S was "so much simpler, it's better, it's classier, it's sexier" than the iPhone 4.
Both boys said their parents knew they were camping at Apple's store. Tom's parents told him that if he wanted to camp out he could, he said.
The last time the two lined up - which lasted 50 hours - was at the same Apple store for the iPad 2. Tom was third in line then, he said, as two others beat him to being first. "The reason I was third was because the other two guys were tourists and they didn't have any place to stay."
Tom recently sold his iPhone 4 but is keeping it until he gets the 4S on Friday. He said he laughed when he saw the Samsung store and people waiting in line there. "I mean we're no better than them but at least we're getting an iPhone." Wil interjected with a laugh, saying the two were better.
Wil said he wasn't lining up at the Chatswood Apple store that was closer to him as the experience was not as good. "Lining up at the Chatswood store you have to wait outside a mall and you don't get the experience that you would here."
Two people Fairfax spoke to in Samsung's line - brother and sister John, 19, and Jessica Kim, 20, from Lidcombe and Burwood respectively - said they would sell their $2 Samsung Galaxy S II smartphones to go on a trip to India. John used an iPhone and would be sticking with it, and Jessica an Optus MyTab, which she used as a phone and tablet. They said the were planning on using the funds to finance some of their India trip.
A cousin of theirs, Caroline Kim, 21 and from Strathfield, said she would keep the Galaxy S II. Her boyfriend, Russell Lee, 20 and from Lidcombe, would also keep his. He's using it to replace his old Nokia 100 mobile.
Both Jessica and Caroline were sleeping in a bright orange tent while John and Russell kept each other company on camping chairs.
Jessica couldn't believe why the two boys at the Apple store were lining up so early. "I can't believe people are lining up for three days just to get it earlier."
"They're waiting three days to pay the full price of the iPhone," said John, suggesting they could've waited in Samsung's line and paid $2 for the Galaxy S II and sold it and used the funds to purchase an iPhone 4S.
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