The Galaxy Note has become a surprising hit: the last we heard from Samsung, the 5.3-inch Android smartphone had sold an amazing 5 million units worldwide. This has inspired some competition from the likes of LG (with the Optimus Vu) and Panasonic (with the ELUGA Power), and now it looks like Chinese manufacturer ZTE us joining in the fray. Company representatives told Reuters that they were planning not one but two “phablets” for an unspecified release date.

It’s not hard to see why competitors are flocking to the form factor, which despite our best efforts seems to be stuck with the “phablet” label. Aside from strong sales from Samsung, the larger size allows for bigger batteries and more longevity, and at least some consumers don’t seem deterred by the bigger frames. Lv Qianhao, ZTE’s head of handset strategy, told Reuters that “we want to come up with the next generation of a Galaxy Note-type product, a combo product of handsets and tablets.” If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Samsung must be blushing right now.

Aside from the teasing rhetoric, ZTE didn’t reveal any specifics on the upcoming hardware, or indeed why they were planning two models. ZTE is a larger manufacturer than many western Android fans realize, but most of their current sales come from “dumb” phones. The company hopes to sell an impressive 50 million smartphones in 2012. We look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor.

[via SlashGear]