Hey Samsung, how come the Note 2 is suddenly a smartphone?

Hey Samsung, how come the Note 2 is suddenly a smartphone?
Confirmed - now a smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is not a tablet/phone hybrid anymore. It's a key weapon against the iPhone.

For nearly a whole year I've been haranguing Samsung, asking it to define the Samsung Galaxy Note as either a smartphone or a tablet. The answer has always been: 'It's a Galaxy Note'.

But conspicuously, the Note 2 has been dubbed a smartphone by all those the Samsung-ites that spoke about it on stage here at IFA 2012, which is something of a change from last year.

The old Note is also being described as a phone for the first time, showing that Samsung has clearly re-categorised it internally.

'Why is this significant? Show us more pictures of phones!' you may be crying. Well, by bringing the Galaxy Note 2 back into the smartphone stable it's sending a message to consumers, one that says it has the most powerful smartphone out there, instead of the bastard child of a Galaxy Tab and a Galaxy S3.

Galaxy note

I spoke to James White of Samsung Mobile UK, and he confirmed that the company now saw Note as a category of products, rather than just one device that was sort of a phone, but sort of a tablet too:

"The Note category is important to us; the Note 10.1 built on the original, and now we have the Note 2 – as a category this is going to grow and now we have three products we have the momentum to go forward.

"[Note] will span smartphones as well as tablets. We think a 5.5-inch screen is the optimum balance of the portability of smartphone with a deep immersive web experience."

Big hitter

But it's a lot more than a marketing exercise in talking about tablets and phones with a stylus – by classing the Note 2 as a smartphone Samsung has saved itself a huge amount of effort educating consumers that they need a new breed of device and can concentrate on pushing it as an alternative to what's out there.

Which leads me to the main point: while it's terribly trendy to always harp back to the Apple vs Samsung debate, the Note is going to be key for the Koreans in the fight to win users from the Cupertino brand.

While the Samsung Galaxy S3 is rocketing off the shelves the world over, having the Galaxy Note 2, with its mind-boggling specs and (love it or loathe it) unique stylus, does give users something very different to think about if they're not completely sold on the iPhone 5.

So many people have asked me firstly what the Galaxy Note is and whether they can upgrade to it on a smarpthone contract, and then secondly: 'can I use it as a phone?'

Samsung may have just brought a new weapon into its smartphone arsenal – and all it had to do was admit that phablets never really were going to take off anyway.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.