Remember the time: on this day, five years ago, Samsung launched the first Galaxy Note


It's sad that we have to celebrate five years since the launch of the Galaxy Note series at a time when the shadow of doubt looms over Samsung, as a smartphone brand. Despite the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung's Note series will live on, but the question is whether or not customers will continue to buy the company's phablets like they used to in the last couple of years.

But we're not going to talk about the original Galaxy Note's specs, though it would be interesting to see how well it fares as a daily driver when put against modern smartphones. The first phablet in the Note series aged pretty well, so it's likely that many loyal fans would still find it perfectly suitable for day to day use.

There's no doubt about it, the Galaxy Note series is one of the most popular family of smartphones, even though Samsung wasn't the first to launch a so-called “phablet.” 

Back in 2010, a company called Dell (we know you know) released what is now considered the first ever phablet, the Dell Streak. It was a rather bulky device with a 5-inch display, but for that time it was larger than anything else out there. It didn't came with a stylus, but it did came on the market more than one year before the original Galaxy Note.

Around the same time, one of Samsung's execs saw an opportunity here, even though Dell's Streak was a total failure. The Samsung exec put the company's R&D team to work and gave it a single task: to design a device that would be large and allow you to draw on it with the help of a stylus. He also gave the team a deadline, a tiny one.

Before going any further you have to understand that Samsung, like many other South Korean companies, is run like a “chaebol” structure, which basically means that one family owns stakes in all other holding companies in the network. It's like a spider web meant to discourage outside investors from buying out any of the conglomerate's small parts.

If you work for such a structure in any position, you almost never question your boss. Moreover, if your boss is a member of the family owning the company, you don't even think of questioning him on any matters.

So, the R&D team had no idea how to design a phone large enough to still be pocket-sizable and easy to handle, not to mention the stylus capability. But since they couldn't argue with their boss, they did the only thing they were allowed to do: start working on the project.

They came up with many ideas, but as the deadline was getting closer they decided to go for the less embarrassing one. A prototype was quickly built and forwarded to the Samsung exec who … liked it very much. Back in 2011, a phone with a 5.3-inch was something unthinkable, let alone the fact that it was quickly labeled as “brick.”

The biggest surprise is not that Samsung's exec instantly liked the “brick,” later called Galaxy Note, but the fact that the company decided to mass-produce it. We don't know if that was pure luck or vision, but the original Galaxy Note sold 5 million units in three months after its release on the market.

So, you see, the Galaxy Note series can't die. There's no reason for Samsung to kill it just because of the Galaxy Note 7 problems. Long live the Galaxy Note.

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GALAXY Note
  • Display 5.3 inches
    1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Samsung Exynos 4
    1GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 2500 mAh
  • OS Android 4.1.2

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