Apparently a 5.3-inch smartphone isn’t too big, and having stylus to go with it doesn’t mean it’s a failure: Samsung announced 5 million sales of its Galaxy Note in a blog post on Wednesday. Previously, the company has reported device shipments, but Samsung specifically means actual end-user sales, making the oversized phone — or undersized tablet — just the right size for success.
I suspect that because of the size and stylus, the Note can’t be properly evaluated in a short hands-on session. I tried to do just that and came away with mixed feelings: Nice hardware, but an odd-feeling size in the hand; likely because there have been so few devices in this size range. But if the handset can replace both a phone and tablet while still being highly portable, that’s a plus. Clearly, 5 million people think so.
The Galaxy Note, an LTE device on AT&T’s network here in the U.S., has only been available here since Feb. 19 even though it launched overseas in October. And Samsung shipped 1 million Galaxy Notes before the end of December. That tells me that most of the sales have likely come from Asia and Europe. Asia actually makes the most sense as I recall the early days of Window Mobile nearly a decade ago: The stylus-based devices often did well in Asia because of the handwriting support for the character-based languages in that region of the world.
Even so, I wouldn’t count out the Galaxy Note in the U.S. even though many here have an “anti-stylus” mentality. Along with the upcoming upgrade to Android 4.0 for the Galaxy Note, Samsung is adding a Premium Suite of software that will give even stylus naysayers more value from the device’s included S-Pen.