CES 2012: Samsung Galaxy Note heralds back PDA category

Samsung's Galaxy Note could either represent a comeback for the PDA category -- or something entirely new.

LAS VEGAS -- Samsung revealed on Monday that the Galaxy Note will be coming to the United States, via AT&T, at CES 2012.

But the 5.3-inch mobile device is curious because it falls within a category of its own -- or does it?

See also: CES 2012: ZDNet’s news and product coverageCES 2012: CNET’s news and product coverage

Take a look at the image below of a Samsung advertisement on the side of a shuttle bus at CES this week:

Asking whether or not the Galaxy Note is a tablet or a smartphone, the ad nearly says it all. Obviously, the Android Gingerbread-based gadget does not fall within either category. Based on the average display sizes on tablets and smartphones right now, the Note doesn't really seem to fit either of those -- even if it does operate as a mobile phone too.

Perhaps, if successful enough, it could create its own "digital notepad" category of its own as it really is supposed to operate like that and more.

Maybe even the 5-inch Dell Streak could have had a chance here if it was marketed in that way. (Although probably not considering even the 7-inch version was axed too.)

Nevertheless, the stylus and respective software especially has the potential to pique the interests of designers, architects, artists, and other creatives who want a compact device for sketching and notes.

But really, with that purpose and especially the stylus, it just reminds me of a larger personal digital assistant.

Traditional PDAs back in the day, like those from Palm and Sony, among others, basically evolved into smartphones. Yet, note-taking and sketching on those monochrome screens on old PDAs were not exactly easy. The stylus was really just there for navigation.

Thus, maybe Samsung really is creating a new hybrid category here -- or it's just the evolution of something we've forgotten about. It's your call, but either way, the Galaxy Note is about to stir up the mobile device market.