Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Goes for Phablet Fame
In a followup to its Galaxy Note hybrid phone-cum-mini-tablet, Samsung is reportedly planning to release its successor, the Galaxy Note 2, sometime this year.
The Galaxy Note 2 will apparently arrive with a 5.5-inch screen -- a fifth of an inch larger than the one found on the original Galaxy Note, which is itself an enormous handset.
Hybrids like the Galaxy Note, which are smaller than tablets but larger than typical smartphones, are what ABI Research calls "phablets." ABI predicts that more than 208 million phablets will ship globally in 2015.
The new device "is a Galaxy Note 2, and that says to me, OK, the first one did well enough to try again, and this has got me wondering," Michael Morgan, a senior analyst at ABI Research, told TechNewsWorld. "I'm starting to think that maybe Samsung's creating another form factor that will generate a different usage pattern. Today people are increasingly using their smartphones for non-voice communications."
Samsung's Galaxy Note "has been an innovative form factor with market positioning -- they embraced the "tweenerness" of the form factor," remarked Danielle Levitas, a group vice president at IDC.
Putative Details for the Note 2
Details about the date of the Note 2's release remain hazy. Some rumors speculate it will be unveiled in August and launched in October, while others contend the launch date has been moved up to September.
The Note 2's reported specs are, understandably, a mishmash. The CPU has been variously cited as a dual-core Exynos 5250 processor and a quad-core processor. It seems to be generally agreed that the display will be a 5.5-inch touchscreen and that the device will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but reports diverge from there.
Some say the screen will be a Super AMOLED display with 1,680 by 1,050 pixel resolution and 360 ppi density, and that it will have a PenTile Matrix for pen input. Other reports claim the Note 2 will have an Unbreakable Plane flexible display.
The Galaxy Note 2 will reportedly have a 12 MP camera, a hardened case, and longer battery life.
"Assuming the rumors are true, the new quad-core processor, the camera, the 2GB of RAM and the unbreakable plane display are substantial advancements from past design points," Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told TechNewsWorld.
Samsung didn't offer any clarification. "We respectfully decline to comment," Samsung Mobile spokesperson Makenzie Blythe told TechNewsWorld.
Opening Up a New Market
"I'm starting to think Samsung have got some genius who thinks if you put this out there, you have a new class of users who don't use their smartphones for talking, but for quick data snacking like I do," ABI's Morgan said. "But they don't want to carry around a smartphone or a tablet."
The Galaxy Note 2 "could be a little ahead of its time," Morgan suggested. "Maybe in a year, when people continuously use less voice, this may become the solution for them because they don't necessarily want to use a tablet or carry around a smartphone."
The market is at the dawn of the phablet era, ABI believes. HTC, LG, and Huawei will each introduce phablet smartphones in 2012, joining the ranks of Samsung's Galaxy Note and Nexus, the firm predicted.
Samsung "is a critical player in tablets and phones, from components to end devices, so they are best positioned to experiment with form factors and see which customer segments prefer which attributes and then refine their products as the category matures," IDC's Levitas told TechNewsWorld.
There have been suggestions that the Galaxy Note 2 will be launched to take on whatever mini iPad efforts Apple may have in store. However, "if the mini-iPad does come out, it's going to be a 7-incher, and I don't expect it will have voice connectivity," ABI's Morgan commented.
"I don't see this [Galaxy Note 2] at 5.5 inches typically being compared to a potential 7-inch iPad by most interested buyers," IDC's Levitas told TechNewsWorld.
The mini-iPad rumors "started shortly after the media frenzy over the Nexus 7 began, suggesting to me that someone at Apple is nervous about the attention Google is enjoying," Pund-IT's King said.
The Nexus 7 is a tablet created jointly by Google and Asus that runs a pure version of Jelly Bean. It was introduced in June and is expected to ship this month.