Will the next Galaxy Note follow in the Galaxy S4's footsteps?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
If we know one thing about Samsung, it's that they like to release a lot of phones with the same name. We've only really started to see this trend recently with the release of the Galaxy S 4, followed by the Galaxy S 4 Active, Galaxy S 4 Mini, and Galaxy S 4 Zoom, not to mention the recent releases of the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 and Galaxy Mega 5.8. It's a trend that has received mixed reviews on whether it's a good tactic or not. With six flagship devices already on the market from Samsung, right now is the calm before the storm until the next Galaxy Note device arrives on the market. But with the new Galaxy Note quickly approaching, I have to wonder: What will happen if Samsung deploys the same tactics with the new Galaxy Note as it did with the Galaxy S 4?
After the event for the Galaxy S 4, my emotions were similar to how I felt after the event for the iPhone 5. Both devices were too similar to their predecessors - similar body, updated specs, more features. I found it boring - as in, I never once thought "Wow, that's an awesome feature!" for the iPhone 5 as I had for previous Apple devices. As it seemed, Samsung decided to go with the ol' Apple theory of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," which, as we can see with sales of both the Galaxy S 4 and the iPhone 5, could probably be changed to "If it ain't broke, don't replace it." It would seem that if you make something too similar in design to the previous version you're not going to have a ton of people jump out of their seats to go buy it.
The Samsung Galaxy S III was one of the top-selling smartphones in 2012, which really shook the market as the Galaxy S III was named the bestselling smartphone in Q3 of 2012, overtaking both the number of sales of the Apple iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5. While the Samsung Galaxy S II started to show some real promise for Samsung and Android back in 2011, it was the changes made in the Galaxy S III that brought them a lot of glory. Unfortunately, in this industry technology doesn't stay relevant or interesting for very long. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that when you keep so many aspects of a phone the same for too long, and people are going to find it easier to keep a device that is still serving them well.
Which brings me back to my initial question: What would happen if the Galaxy Note III followed the Galaxy S 4's plan of action?
The Galaxy Note line is one of the most popular Samsung models out there, both for its inclusion of a stylus (S Pen) and introduction of very large phone screens. Both devices proved to be rather popular despite being under scrutiny for having such a large screen size (which would almost become an industry standard later). Similar to the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S 4, the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Note II didn't differ much in design from model to model either, only really offering subtle improvements in the Galaxy Note II that made it an upgrade: better battery life, improved S Pen functionality and design, inclusion of Smart features (introduced with the popular Galaxy S III) and not to mention released with the latest version of Android pre-installed (at the time, Jelly Bean 4.1). Despite the updates though, the Galaxy Note II faced the issue that the Galaxy S 4 faces today, which is when consumers start to wonder if it's really worth it to upgrade from one to the other.
The Note and Note II have already gone through what the Galaxy S 4 and the Galaxy S III are going through right now, but will it happen again with the Galaxy Note III? Considering rumors so far, I'm not exactly impressed with what I'm hearing, especially given the rumors flying around make it seem as if Samsung plans to do with the next Note device exactly as it did with the Galaxy S 4: freak out and bombard consumers with a plethora of variants of the same device. While I like to think that options are a good thing, I also think they're only a good thing when executed the right way, and I feel like the release of so many Galaxy S 4 devices was a poor decision on Samsung's part, almost like they were trying too hard when they didn't have to. I don't see the next Galaxy Note faring any better with the same plan of action. Maybe two variants released (or at least announced) at the same time would be a better way to go, but according to rumors we may be looking at up to four Galaxy Note variants coming this year.
Obviously it's too soon to tell exactly what would happen, but never too soon to speculate. Would you still be interested in the Note III if it turned out to only be a small step up from the Galaxy Note II? Does the idea of Samsung releasing multiple variants turn you off from the idea? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Image via Sam Mobile