Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The Galaxy Note has moved out of its niche

Phil is spending some much-deserved holiday time away from his desk this weekend, so you're stuck with me. He'll be back with more weekly punditry next Sunday.

In the meantime ...

I had a very interesting day this past week. Some last minute holiday gifts needed bought, and since I live in a sleepy little town, that meant a road trip. My wife and I ended up spending the day (and the money) at the Crystal City shopping mall in Arlington, Virginia where both the selection and the crowds were much bigger. We had a great day and picked up everything we needed, but I also noticed something else.

Part of having a job at a place like Android Central is phone watching. You've probably done it. You're at the train station, or a restaurant, or the mall like I was and you start to notice all the people on their phones. Naturally, you try your best to identify exactly what phone they are using without being obnoxious and obvious about it, and you keep a psuedo-score in your head. Different places mean different devices. Hit Dulles Airport (in Washington, D.C.) at 7 a.m. on a work day and you'll see more BlackBerrys than you can shake a stick at. Go to an event at a high-school, and it seems like every mom or dad has an iPhone in their hand. Visit the mall, and see every imaginable Android device in the hands of people shopping or hanging out in the food court.

This past Thursday I noticed something I didn't expect.

While sneakily watching everyone on their phones, I noticed a lot of Galaxy Notes. As in, a whole hell of a lot. I'm not going to say everyone was using a Galaxy Note, or even most people. But there were plenty of them there, each attached to a seemingly happy user. Some even had the S Pen out, likely doing something with a gift list. The Note 2 and Note 3 were very well represented, along with more than a few Note 4s. I mentioned this to my wife, who quickly returned a smile and said, "That's nice dear." But even she had to agree that there were a lot of people with a Galaxy Note in their hands.

Now my wife may not get excited about this sort of thing, but I sure did. It tells me that the Note series is now mainstream. No longer a bringer of funny looks and cries of "wow that's a big phone!" People, for one reason or another, have seen it on the shelf when they bought their phone and decided it was right for them. We don't blame them. Some of us here are pretty set on wanting a smaller smartphone (guilty) but all of us can see the special draw of a bigger screen — and the Galaxy Note in particular — and really do get why people want one. We shouldn't be surprised when we see a lot of people using one. Phil sent me a Galaxy Note 4, and quickly said something along the lines that he might buy another because he liked it. It has that effect.

I'm betting this trend continues. Not just the big phone trend, but the Galaxy Note trend. I can't help but think other companies — like Google and Apple — are chasing Samsung to try and grab their part of this market segment. But I have a feeling there's more to it than a big screen, and more and more people are going to say Samsung when they pick out a new, bigger, smartphone.

We'll see. A few other things to mention before I relinquish control back to Phil:

  • Did Sony do the right thing by backing down, or have the terrorists won?
  • As Andrew mentioned, it's probably not the best idea to use a plane emergency as a marketing joke. Bad move, LG.
  • Before you start to get excited about minor version numbers and Nexus updates, remember that not every device will have the same final software. We'll know more when Google wants us to know more. In the meantime, we speculate.
  • We're constantly evolving here at Mobile Nations, and I have a good feeling about 2015. A very good feeling.
  • CES is right around the corner. Tired feet and a hectic schedule for those going, and long days with no free drinks for those staying home. But we'll cover the shit out of everything worth covering. Our event people are the best in the business. Expect good stuff.
  • Also expect some good stuff from the folks who build all these phones and tablets. Be excited.
  • Be sure to see what the guys and gals over at iMore have to say about Apple's latest gear after a few months behind the wheel with it.
  • The Asus ZenWatch looks like a total winner. I'm kicking myself for not pulling the trigger when the Mrs. gave her blessing.

Finally, I want to take a second and send out some peace and love to everyone this holiday season. We don't care what you celebrate, or what beliefs you hold. We just hope everyone can have a little extra happiness.

Until next time.