Samsung crows 5m Galaxy Note sales

Samsung has announced five million global sales of the Galaxy Note, the company's oversized smartphone/tablet hybrid, taking the high demand for the 5.3-incher as a sign that it has successfully created a new segment. The US and European sales – which average out to a million a month across the time the Galaxy Note has been on the market – will be joined by Japanese availability when the Note LTE arrives in stores there next month. However, it's not entirely clear who has been buying all these so-called phablets.

Samsung has found itself in hot PR water before by representing "shipments" as "sales"; the company was forced to backtrack when pulled up on its mistake, revealing that in fact it was counting distribution of its products to resellers rather than to end users. This time around it seems Note sales are being counted, though it's not specified whether that's to resellers such as carriers and stores, or to users themselves.

Our guess would be the latter, which doesn't help us figure out whether the Galaxy Note has been flying off retailer shelves or languishing in stock rooms. Nonetheless, despite initial misgivings over the sheer size of the handset, reviewers – like ourselves – turned out to be impressed. The stylus may not be to everyone's taste, but for sketching, note-taking and document mark-ups it's surprisingly useful.

Demand for the Note obviously looked sufficiently strong for LG to wade in with a rival of its own, taking the wraps off of the Optimus Vu last month. Meanwhile, Samsung has carried the stylus over to its larger tablet range, offering a digital pen with the Galaxy Note 10.1.