The Galaxy Note… brand name has been officially retired by Samsung. Samsung’s smartphone CEO Roh Tae-moon confirmed the revelation to reporters at Mobile World Congress 2022, saying that “Galaxy Note would come out as Ultra” in the future, referring to Samsung’s recently introduced Galaxy S22 Ultra, according to Dailian.
The information isn’t exactly shocking. Since the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra were introduced in 2020, Samsung hasn’t released a Galaxy Note smartphone. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, which has the return of an integrated pen, is a Galaxy Note smartphone in every way save name.
For years, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note product lines were destined to collide. With a huge (for the time) 5.3-inch screen, Samsung’s Galaxy Note towered above contemporaries like the 4.3-inch Galaxy S II or the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S when it was originally released over a decade ago, in October 2011.
Big-screen smartphones, on the other hand, became less of a curiosity for power users and more of an industry norm as time went on. In 2016, Samsung released the Galaxy S7, which featured a 5.1-inch display and was roughly the same size as the original Note. By 2017, the Galaxy S8 Plus was nearly identical in size and design to the Galaxy Note 8, which arrived later that year, with the renowned S-Pen pen increasingly acting as the sole notable differentiation between the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines.
The Note was instrumental in popularizing large smartphones, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Samsung. The Galaxy Note 7, in particular, stands out as one of the worst consumer electronics failures in recent memory, with the highly acclaimed product being soon recalled and eventually discontinued outright owing to safety concerns about faulty batteries.
After the Note 7 fiasco, Samsung would finally bring the Note brand back, but it may have already been too late. Foldable phones, such as the Galaxy Z Fold, were already on the way, and would eventually usurp the Note as Samsung’s new platform for experimenting with increasingly larger screens. There wasn’t much opportunity for the Note to distinguish out on its own between the increasingly comparable Galaxy S series and the much bigger and more futuristic Z Fold range.
The death of the Galaxy Note brand is the end of an era, but the impact has been lessened by the fact that the Note is more alive than ever in the shape of the Galaxy S22 Ultra (and the subsequent Note-like devices that Tae-moon seems to be hinting will follow in future years.) The Note’s influence cannot be overstated: the fact that Samsung’s “regular” flagships are now nearly indistinguishable from a Galaxy Note demonstrates the deceased brand’s strength in popularizing larger screen sizes.
The Galaxy Note is no longer alive, but the Galaxy Note lives on.