updated 01:43 pm EDT, Wed August 29, 2012
Bigger screen, October launch outside US
At IFA in Berlin, Samsung unveiled the follow-up to its popular phone-tablet hybrid, the Galaxy Note II. The newest iteration of the Galaxy Note, as previously rumored, comes with a larger screen but retains the same form factor. Samsung has upgraded the Note's capabilities and improved its battery life, and the device will debut running the newest version of Android.
The Note II packs a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos processor running Android 4.1. The phablet comes in 15GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, and users can expand its memory capacity with a microSD card. The screen now measures 5.5-inches wide, with an HD Super AMOLED display outputting at 1280x720. To power that screen, the Note II contains a 3100mAh battery.
The Note II's rear camera has an 8MP sensor capable of 1080p video recording. The company has also updated the software underlying the device's S Pen input. The new S Pen features a rubber nib, which Samsung says will make the writing experience more like writing on pen and paper.
The Note II also allows users to add "Quick Commands," stylus gestures that execute certain features automatically, as well as an "Air View" function allowing users to look through galleries and folders with the stylus held above the screen. The native email and calendar apps now support S Pen input as well. To ensure that users do not leave the peripheral behind, the S Pen itself now features an alert system that makes sure users keep it nearby the device.
The device is slated for an October release in European, Asian, and Middle East markets, with a North American release scheduled for later in the year. It will be available in Marble White and Titanium Gray color options.