Samsung’s Galaxy S IV hasn’t even been revealed yet and news of another top-tier Samsung smartphone is already threatening to steal some of its spotlight. The Korea Times reported earlier today that the Korean electronics giant is busy working on a Galaxy Note phablet followup with a 5.9-inch display behind closed doors.
If the Korea Times’ report holds true then Samsung is taking a more measured approach to how it scales up smartphone screen sizes — as PocketNow points out this is (thankfully?) a hair smaller than what some earlier rumors suggested, since for a while there it looked like Samsung was considering pushing out a phablet with a 6.3-inch screen. The Times’ source also noted that the Note III would sport an eight-core Exynos processor, a not-so-subtle reference to Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa chipset.
Samsung isn’t the first to push up against that 6-inch barrier, and they’ll hardly be the last. Chinese OEM Huawei blew past it earlier this year when it unveiled the hefty Ascend Mate and its 6.1-inch screen at CES, and ZTE revealed its 5.7-inch Grand Memo during Mobile World Congress. For better or worse, the plus-sized phone trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
In the past I’ve asked how big is too big for these sorts of phablets, but looking back that’s sort of a restrictive question. The word “phablet” doesn’t have a universally accepted definition (it’s usually just used to refer to big honking phones) — perhaps the better question is at what point are devices like the Note and Grand Memo more tablet than phone?
For what it’s worth, Samsung and rivals like Huawei and Asus seem keen on making that sort of distinction a meaningless one. The Korea Times report comes just days after Samsung pulled back the curtain on its Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress — it’s the company’s smallest Note tablet to date and some versions of the device feature the ability to make voice calls. Asus (perhaps swept up in a fit of wordplay-induced whimsy) also showed off its 7-inch FonePad tablet at MWC, and touted its ability to place voice calls almost as much as its reasonable price tag.