How Samsung’s Galaxy Note Changed the Smartphone (Good and Bad)

The Samsung Note Series was Legendary, with its Big Screen and Big Price tag, it had an Influencing Effect on the Smartphone Industry.

Bigger Screen, Better Phone?

When Samsung released the Galaxy Note in 2011 with a 5.2 Inch display it was met with reviewer confusion and intrigue. Never had a phone had such a large display, nor had it been accompanied by a pressure stylus that worked on a capacitive display. Reviewers dubbed the screen “ridiculous,” “unusable,” experimental and yet another fad that Samsung would throw a lot of money at, and quietly discontinue when the sales numbers arrived. The largest display phones you could buy at the time were 4.3 inches, the iPhone was a mere 3.5 inches, so small that it could fit inside the Note’s display area. After being asked about the new ‘phablet’ trend, Steve Jobs infamously retorted:

“The phone is so big, you can’t get your hand around it! No one’s going to buy that!”

Nowadays, of course, we know it not to be a fad, and we look at phones like the Galaxy Note as normal, or even relatively small by today’s standards. Despite Jobs’ wishes, Apple’s base iPhone 12 is now sporting a 6.06 inch screen, almost an inch larger than the Galaxy Note he derided. Whilst the last Galaxy Note 20 sports a 6.9 inch screen for its 'Ultra' variant, a screen size which was ordinarily limited to tablets back in 2011. Of course the shaving off of bezels and elongating of the screen has allowed the shift to be relatively pain-free.  

Expensive Phones

The Note started a revolution, as from that moment forward phones have gotten considerably larger and more expensive. The original Note when released in 2011 started at $1,345 whereas the iPhone 4S started at $820, even Samsung’s own Galaxy S2 was considerably cheaper at $693 (USD prices adjusted for inflation). However, despite the high price in just nine months Samsung was able to shift over ten million units. With each Note device the sales of the Note series grew as did its screen size, as it began to quite literally dwarf the competition. Competitors like Apple, LG and HTC steadily increased the sizes of their phones to match. Apple was latest to the party with their 6 and 6 Plus in 2014 (three years after Jobs died), whereas the Android competitors responded in less than a year with competitors to the Note series. 

The Note was also very expensive for Samsung to produce, the larger higher resolution AMOLED display, an unheard of at the time ‘720 x 1280,’ pressure sensitive stylus, high end Camera and in-house Exynos Processor all contributed to the high price of manufacture. As phones became larger and began to adopt features of the Note series such as larger displays, more powerful processors and a myriad of other features, phones became far more expensive to produce, leading to profit margins slimming and forcing manufacturers to raise the price of phones to the exponential levels they are today. 

The Note series normalised the expensive high end phone, as it sold in large numbers it proved to manufacturers consumers were willing to spend the big bucks on large phablet style devices, this trend has continued till this day. 

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