Somewhere at Samsung’s sprawling campus, deep in the headquarters of the mobile phone division, there is a PowerPoint slide with a simple line graph. On one axis is “sales,” and on the other is “screen size.” The graph shows a positive correlation between the two.
This graph has no extra information or context. It does not note that the marketing budget for Samsung’s enormous phones is much larger than for the smaller phones. It does not note that Samsung also, typically, reserves its best hardware for its large phones. It does not note that Samsung no longer even makes flagship phones with screens smaller than about 4.5 inches. It does not note that its chief competitor, Apple, essentially created the category and has succeeded with a phone that’s never had a larger screen than 4 inches.
The executives look at this graph often. Whenever a reviewer says phones like the newly announced Samsung Galaxy Mega, which has either a 6.3- or 5.8-inch screen, whichever you prefer, is absurd to use, that it requires two hands, that its screen sucks up battery life, that it doesn’t fit in a pocket, that when you use it to make phone calls you look like a child with his head down on a school desk, that these phones represent the worst tendencies of Samsung, a company with the creativity and aesthetic sensibility of a bundle of Swiss chard–the executives point to this graph. “But look,” they say, with the tone of a parent explaining the ways of the world to a toddler. “The line goes up.”
And so Samsung continues on the path laid out by this graph, blowing past the 6-inch mark with a phone that is larger than several gadgets called “tablets.” We can talk about this phone in terms of “feet” now. This phone is over half a foot long. That is a fact, with numbers.
This phone has middling specs. It’s not even as fast, in the oblique and increasingly useless list of numbers that constitute “speed,” as the Galaxy S 4. I won’t list them here. You can’t make me.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega will be available in May, starting in Europe.