Samsung must be looking at the latest sales figures for the Galaxy Note 2, which it has just made public, shaking its head and then having a good laugh. It has released a device nobody thought they wanted and critics instantly took against, then went on to sell millions of them. So why is it laughing? Because there still isn’t any competition.
The Galaxy Note 2 went on sale during September in Korea, reached the UK on October 1, and has steadily made its way to the US and other regions around the world since. According to Samsung, in 37 days it has racked up more than 3 million sales.
The original Galaxy Note arrived in September 2011, but didn’t reach 1 million sales until the end of December, so the Note 2‘s performance is impressive going, particularly when you take into account the Note 2 is still a niche device.
But is it so niche that it doesn’t need some competition? Who does Samsung think it is? Apple? Has it really produced an initially derided product that in reality, just caught other manufacturers napping?
Rumors and half-releases
It seems so, as viable alternatives to the Note 2 are few and far between, despite the product line having been on sale for more than a year. There’s the LG Optimus Vu, or the LG Intuition if you buy it from Verizon; but in its infinite wisdom, LG hasn’t bothered to give it a wide release, so its sales are unlikely to impress.
HTC’s bizarrely named J Butterfly phone has a 5-inch, 1080p screen, but it’s only available in Japan, while Panasonic has picked up its 5-inch Eluga Power and taken it home, after it failed to gain any traction in the European market. At least these have seen a release, as phones such as the LG Optimus Vu II, the Oppo Find 5, Lenovo’s S880 and the Thomson X-View 2 are all seemingly in some kind of release date limbo.
Huawei and ZTE have woken up and started talking about their own tablet/smartphone hybrid machines. For Huawei, it will be the Ascend D2 and the rumor is it will be equipped with a quad-core chip and a 720p 5-inch display. ZTE’s Nubia Z5 will have the same specification, but will add a 13-megapixel camera too. Neither are confirmed though, and both are likely to do the rounds in China before possibly going international sometime next year.
There are also a few other rumored devices with 5-inch-plus sized screens coming soon. HTC may adapt the J Butterfly for international release — possibly to be named the Droid DNA and launched on the Verizon network — while the Sony C650X, codename Odin, may arrive next year too, along with a 6-inch screen version codename Yuga. Both of these and the Droid DNA are said to have 5-inch, 1080p screens.
All this gives the Galaxy Note 2 an almost entirely open playing field until well into 2013. How many Note 2 handsets will it have gone on to sell before a true alternative finally goes on sale?