Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Samsung’s Galaxy Note II Has Even Bigger Screen, Runs on Android Jelly Bean

Samsung today unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone, the successor to last year’s six-inch-by-three-inch, stylus-equipped, “positively gargantuan” Galaxy Note phone, also affectionately known (by AllThingsD) as the “phablet.”

The new smartphone was shown off during a Samsung press event at the IFA Consumer Electronics Show in Berlin, Germany.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II has a 5.5-inch HD super AMOLED screen — slightly bigger than the original Note’s 5.3-inch screen. It’s running a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, and has an eight-megapixel rear camera and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera.

The phone, which weighs just over six ounces, runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google’s latest flavor of Android for mobile devices.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II boasts the same “hovering” stylus that was recently introduced with the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. The stylus doesn’t require contact with the screen for input, and lets users preview apps without fully opening them; by hovering it over an email app, for example, a user can see the contents of a new email.

There’s also a feature called Popup Note — playing off Popup Play on the Samsung Galaxy S III — that lets users open up the S Note app while running other apps or while talking on the phone. And it’s got an onscreen video-recording function, allowing users to record their activities on the phone, then share the video file.

The smartphone comes in white and titanium gray, and is available with 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage, with the 64GB model offering additional storage options through an SD card slot. It’s scheduled to launch in October in European, Asian and Middle Eastern markets. No word yet on a U.S. launch date or exact pricing, except to say that the U.S. version of the phone will be available later in 2012. And if the device’s predecessor is any indication, it will likely be in the $300 price range, with a cellular contract.

Samsung also hasn’t confirmed whether the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy Note II will be 4G or LTE-compatible.

With its hovering S Pen, advanced multitasking, built-in photo-editing apps, and a redesigned image gallery, Samsung is clearly aiming this smartphone at creative, productivity-driven consumers.

But as my AllThingsD colleague John Paczkowski asked late last year, is the market large enough to sustain a product like the Note? “It certainly wasn’t big enough to sustain Dell’s Streak 5, a similar smartphone-tablet hybrid that was scrapped about a year after its debut,” he pointed out.

Samsung did say earlier this month that it has sold — actually sold, not just shipped — 10 million Samsung Galaxy Note units since the phone’s initial launch last fall.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II’s debut comes on the heels of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet announcement, during which Samsung tried to appeal, once again, to the creative class, welcoming film director Baz Luhrmann and fashion designer Zac Posen onstage at a New York City event to tout the usefulness of the stylus-equipped device for their respective fields of work.

It’s also the first mobile product Samsung has unveiled following a high-profile legal battle with Apple, in which Samsung was found guilty of infringing a number of Apple patents pertaining to mobile devices. The Korean electronics giant was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages.

Apple has since asked the presiding judge for a permanent injunction against the eight phones that accounted for most of Samsung’s U.S. smartphone revenue in the first six months of the year — though the original Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone was not on Apple’s injunction list. Samsung has said that it will take all necessary measures to ensure the availability of its products in the U.S.

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