Samsung threw the second jab of its one-two punch to knock down Apple iPhone sales by launching its Galaxy Note II in Korea on Wednesday. The 5.5-inch Android smartphone includes an improved digital stylus and has a bigger screen than its successful predecessor even though the phone is actually not as wide. Samsung thinks the part-phone, part-tablet will be a big hit, predicting it to have three times more sales than the original Galaxy Note.
In a statement at the Galaxy Note II launch reported by Reuters, Samsung’s mobile business head, J.K. Shin, based the sales expectation for the device’s first three months on the fact that a larger number of carriers plan to sell the phone: 260 operators in 128 markets. The Galaxy Note II is expected on all four major U.S. carriers as early as next month. If Shin is correct, look for 3 million Galaxy Note II sales over the next 90 days, as the first model sold 1 million in the same time period and 5 million in six months.
The original Galaxy Note, which I first saw at January’s Consumer Electronics show, seemed like an experiment to see how consumers might take to a “phablet”, which is what many call the phones over 5-inches in size. When I first held the device and tried to write on it, it didn’t feel comfortable, but after more time with the device, I quickly got used to the form factor. I think Samsung has made a smart move by increasing the Galaxy Note II screen size while also changing to a 16:9 aspect ratio which makes the phone easier to hold.
The launch of a successor to the Galaxy Note in a relatively short time also indicates that Samsung is trying to draw attention away from Apple in a bid to keep growing its own smartphone sales; as of earlier this year, Samsung took the top sales spot in global sales.
Until this month’s iPhone 5 launch, the Galaxy S III was generally the talk of the town from May until now. In August, one report surfaced that the Galaxy S III outsold the aging iPhone 4S at three of the four major U.S. carriers. And there’s a number of Samsung commercials airing that compare the iPhone to the Galaxy S III, so it’s clear that Samsung is trying to go head-to-head with Apple.
By launching the Galaxy Note II so quickly after the iPhone launch, Samsung is trying to maintain consumers’ attention by pointing out the larger display with a higher resolution, additional features such as NFC and digital inking support and other software functions like the company’s pop-out video that allows for productivity while watching digital media content. With a quick and widespread Galaxy Note II launch, Samsung doesn’t want to just be mentioned in smartphone conversations with Apple, but instead wants to be the conversation.