Reuters Jeremy Wagstaff describes it as “a piece of toast” it’s wearing labels like “a device for elephants and a throwback to the good old brick of the 1980s” Snickering aside, Samsung has sold 5 million Galaxy Note phone/tablets and plans on selling 10 million units this year.
Galaxy Note is much more than a freak hit! Tech-consumer, design experts and gadget analysts reckon the surprise success of the “phablet” marks a much deeper shift in the fast-paced world of mobile devices. Launched in late November 2011, the Samsung Galaxy Note is a standout product. The most obvious thing about the Note is its size. Its 5.3 inch screen is almost as wide as the iPhone’s screen is long.
…then there’s the stylus. Apple’s co-founder, the late great Steve Jobs famously ridiculed the idea of using a pen to interact with a screen, Samsung however has embraced pointy ended accoutrements, they’ve partnered with Japan’s übercool Wacom, the market leader in digital pen technology, to come up with something less clunky than, well chunky!? Granted the stylus or s-pen is still kind of chunkyish, try writing or sketching with your finger!!
Samsung says it hopes to sell at least 10 million Galaxy Notes this year
Chris Griffin from The Australian reported that at its Australian launch in Sydney mid last month, Samsung brought in professional illustrators who sketched electronic portraits of guests. Using the stylus or S pen, as Samsung calls it, users can draw on Google maps, write captions on photos and send handwritten images and notes via texting.
“The Samsung GALAXY Note represents a new category of Samsung portable devices for Australian consumers,” said Tyler McGee, Vice President of Telecommunications, Samsung Electronics Australia. “The product combines the freedom of a paper notebook with the connectivity of Samsung’s smartphone technology and services, providing consumers with great flexibility all-round” he added. In Australia the RRP $AU899 Samsung GALAXY Note is initially launching on the Optus and Vodafone networks this week, with Telstra following up in April.
The Galaxy note has it seems been a resounding success, prior to it’s mid-March launch in Australia and the US, the phablet sold 2 million units in Europe alone. Apple take note . . .
So why exactly are people buying the Galaxy Note? Samsung’s Lee Jui Siang, mobile phone chief for Southeast Asia, Oceania and Taiwan, says people want to carry just one device – and especially one that allows handwriting. He points to a global survey of 5,000 smartphone users which indicated demand for handwritten annotations was particularly high in Asia.
Galaxy Note’s designer sees things slightly differently. Samsung Vice President Lee Minhyouk said the design risk was “breaking a taboo” about keeping handsets small enough to fit easily in your hand. “Smartphones are more about entertainment. The Note was created by simply breaking that taboo and focusing more on the new functions that smartphones require,” Lee said.
The Note has its detractors. It’s a “polarizing device”, says IDC analyst Melissa Chua. Gizmodo has routinely insulted the device’s size, attracting strong reactions, for and against.
Sam Biddle from Gizmodo wrote“The Galaxy note, a 5.3-inch plastic and electric goiter of a hybrid crap phablet, hasn’t really taken off with the human population. Samsung, in an attempt at cute advertising, paired the “phone” with an elephant. Maybe it’s on to something!”
Its most recent post in late March elicited nearly 1,500 comments, a third more than the next most commented article that month. So deep is Gizmodo’s dislike for the Galaxy Note, they hired an elephant and some cheap tricks to rag the gadget out . . .
Clearly the Samsung Galaxy Note isn’t aimed at the cool gang, they all have their iPhones, the Note is aimed squarely at customers who want more out of their technology. What the Galaxy Note has illustrated, design and industry experts say, is that as the mobile device market matures, it opens up the possibility of greater diversity as users and manufacturers experiment with form factors.
“We’re seeing a shift in the marketplace and there’s room for diversity,” says Shivesh Vishwanathan, senior solutions architect at Persistent Systems. “Smartphone devices are personal to people and are being used in unique ways – which explains why we’re seeing some strong reactions for as well as against ‘phablets’.”
Stuart Lipoff, a technology consultant and past president of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, compares it to the mature TV market: from small sets parked in the kitchen to wall-sized mounted screens.
“This is part of the normal evolution of any category of consumer electronics as it matures,” he says. “As any product category matures you see an expansion in the range of features, performance and price.”
For Samsung, it’s not just a boost to the bottom-line, but also a glimpse of a bigger prize. The Note suggests Samsung, which last year became the world’s top smartphone maker, may have found a way to eat into the tablet market, where it remains a distant second to Apple’s iPad.
“Samsung has successfully cracked open the 5-inch device market, where Dell failed miserably a couple of years ago,” said Lee Kakeun, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities in Seoul. “It’s now expanding into the bigger-sized tablet market, where its stylus could differentiate it among non-iPad tablets and help it expand market share in the tablet market, too.”
While competitors try to catch up – LG Electronics has recently unveiled the 5-inch Optimus Vu – Samsung is already forging other niches. It has just introduced the Galaxy Pocket, with a 2.8-inch screen, and websites are awash with speculation that the Galaxy SIII, due for launch in the next few months, will have a 4.8-inch screen, halfway between the SII and the Note.
Samsung can experiment like this, analysts say, because it controls the process. Samsung’s integrated business model – for instance, it makes its own application processors and AMOLED screens – is the biggest ingredient of Samsung’s winning formula,” says Daniel Kim, a Seoul-based analyst at Macquarie, “which in our view cannot be easily copied.”
image source:  cebit
image source:  the australian
image source:  softpedia