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.

Related phones

GALAXY Note
  • Display 5.3" 800 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 2500 mAh(13.50h 3G talk time)

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47 Comments

2. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

The irony..and the sadness

6. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

it is amazing to think how much technology has improved over the years though..the first Note I ever had enough hands -on time with was the Note 3 and I thought it was massive then. Now I find an S7 edge tiny...

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Well its smaller per se than the Note 3 for sure.

39. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

Point is...phablets are now considered "regular" size phones. One of the reasons I really liked the note 7 was that it was marginally larger than the S7 edge

35. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

The irony ...and the sadness is that the whole story was not told here. Here are the details: When first Note came made many ppl happy, Big screen device with amazing S-Pen embedded.(and great built even for today's standards- look at iphone7Plus brick). lol . Most interesting and funny was the tech media reaction, as their darling iPhone was with the ''perfect'' 3.5'' display at this time: Bashing and killing Dell Streak(5'') they got even more desperate and determined to kill even larger display(5.3'') Note. But the S Pen made them even mad. Bringing up the words of the Prophet St.Jobs. Actually they invented the ugly name 'phablet' as a curse(too big for phone, too small for tablet, was the mantra in every article) The top of everything was when a guy from respectable US media, started the review of Note with taking out S-Pen and throwing it behind his back. The media didn't stop bashing even Note2, Note3, Note4 for size .....until Apple made the iPhone Plus brick(bigger than Note5 and with even smaller screen) BTW neither Apple nor other OEM could make real Note-replacement but just put bigger displays and nothing else. Samsung's patented innovation. And only Note-line sells more that all other Android high-end phones combined. That's why tech media hate and fear will never stop.

47. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

"And only Note-line sells more that all other Android high-end phones combined." That's little far fetched. I was big fan of big screen phones, had dell strak, nice phone. Never had money to get note till s4. The note 4 was most amazing and most ahead of time phone.

3. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Bring out the fireworks boys.

5. WPX00

Posts: 511; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

*Samsung employee carts in two wheelbarrows of Note 7s*

8. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

LOL. *Samsung CEO plugs in the charger and stands back

4. mi7chy

Posts: 53; Member since: Apr 18, 2016

Four year old Galaxy Note 2 is still better than a lot of 2016 devices and has 2GB DRAM that some 2016 flagship devices have.

7. WPX00

Posts: 511; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

What insane OEM ships 2GB of RAM on flagships in 2016?! And yeah, I'd like to see the Note 2 participate in a showdown of any kind against today's devices. On par in user experience? Maybe, if you do light browsing and messaging only on your phone. Better? Hell no.

13. truthwins unregistered

even 2016 samsung products due to their sub par quality control are laggy and explosive.

26. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

the same insane OEM that use lower screen res. than that 5 years-old 5.3inch note?

9. Xperia14

Posts: 1207; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

Even though they released a 'safe' version before knowing what caused the explosions, I'm sure that they will find the cause and make sure it will never happen again. I hope they will continue the Note line, as it is a great line that changed the whole smartphone industry. All the best, Samsung.

11. Fona13A unregistered

The earlier Galaxy Note devices are still some of the best productivity handsets you could ask for.

12. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

5 years from launch and its exploding in sales! Congrats Sammy!

14. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3097; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

15. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

Lol. contrary five years ago. supposedly the best phone ever according to SOS is now banned in US and China under a massive world recall

17. Fona13A unregistered

You mean, one generation? Let's hope you're the only one of your bloodline's generation left.

18. emmawilliam834

Posts: 241; Member since: Feb 09, 2016

every samsung lover remembers.

20. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

Gotta give Samsung credit, they really got the ball rolling on large screen phones and forced others to follow suit, to the benefit of consumers.

23. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

+1...

21. Odiin

Posts: 373; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Please don't kill note series Samsung. Long live Galaxy Notes!

22. dmomintz

Posts: 68; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Maybe its just me, but I still love that design, sophisticated yet practical, and the note 2 was even better. I think they started losing their way with the note 3 and locking it down from the custom rom community.

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The lock down was mostly because of US carriers and features they wanted to bring to phones. I remember VZW made a huge deal about mobile pay, because they want all transactions to come through them, to protect their network from outside services and to protect their customers. Which I agreed with on some level. I recalled with my iphoen to use SoftCard, you needed to get a SIM card with the secure element inside which was a good idea. But understand that modifying a phone to do somethign it wasn't intended or done in a protective way opens you up to issue and everyone else. if you dont want a locked down phoen or bootloaders, Samsung makes unlocked International versiosn of phones thata re easier too root. But with the features on todays Samsung, rooting just semms stupid. Why buy a phone full of features and then install sofwtare that removes all of them. When theer are phones that come with stock Android and have no features to begin with. People who root phones or jailbreak them are stupid. And I'm a person who use to do those things and is why I speak from experience. Rooting a phone you plan to get rid of in a year is a waste of time and effort to miss out on great features, to make your save a blink of an eye faster. With my iPhone 4 I got so tired of jail-breaking over and over every time a new firmware comes out. Because it literally would take 4 hours to get the phone back exactly the way it was, and it never was exactly the way it was. After every jailbreak the phone was noticeably slower., just to get features on Android. But at the time I didn't like to many Androids until I bought the Droid Incredible. I never looked back at iOS. If you really want the benefits of stock Android, buy a phone with it. Rooting is stupid, unsafe and it really is no longer fun.

24. Senthilg

Posts: 49; Member since: Apr 07, 2016

Meanwhile here is the review of Original Note by PA.Gave 7/10 !!

28. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

US at&t variant got 8/10 though.

25. Senthilg

Posts: 49; Member since: Apr 07, 2016

29. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Cosmin V. I have to say this time, it was a good read, even though you still trying to voice the doom and gloom of the Note 7. In today's news, BMW a top luxury brand is recalling over 100,000 cars and trucks do to a issue. You think a recall is going to cause those owners, to not buy the same vehicle next time? Recalls tend to be more common with products that are assembled by machine vs human hands. Even though machines make the parts for the Note 7, the phone is assembled by hand. This is actually bad in that, a person could effectively sabotage the product without anyone knowing it until its too late.

31. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3097; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Why are you posting with two accounts? Your essays aren't long enough?

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