Samsung has announced the long-teased successor to the popular Samsung Note tablet/phone hybrid in the Galaxy Note II for the US market. The phone will be available on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile when it launches in November, while the US Cellular version will be sold for $299.99 with a late October launch timeframe. The Note II takes the design of the Galaxy S III and enlarges the body to include a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display, which is actually smaller in size than the related Samsung Galaxy Player 5.8 Android-powered media player, which was announced earlier this month.
It features a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal flash memory, microSD card slot, a redesigned S Pen capacitive stylus featuring a modified tip and “eraser” meant to simulate a pen or pencil (as an additional premium accessory), and expanded S Pen software and functionality with the following new features:
- Easy Clip allows users to instantly outline and crop any content on the screen in any shape to save, share or paste. Once done cropping the image, users can freely edit the cropped content through coloring, shading, or their own personal handwriting.
- Air View allows users to hover with the S Pen over an email, calendar entry, image gallery or video to preview the content without having to open it or wait for screen transitions. This feature also enables users to preview Web site content without opening the full site. Air View provides a title description for unrecognizable icons in various applications.
- Quick Command uses the S Pen to quickly activate applications and services people use most often. The command pad appears with one upward swipe on the screen with the S Pen button pressed down. Users can send an email, make a call or search a location with pre-registered and customized S Pen stroke marks made on the command pad.
- Idea Sketch allows users to easily add illustrations by handwriting keywords on the S Note. It provides illustration images that match the handwritten keywords. It’s a fancy illustration match function that will allow users to express, organize and visualize ideas in a more innovative and creative way. Users can even customize and add in their own illustrations library.
- Photo Notes allows users to create handwritten notes on the back of digital photos.
- Popup Note lets users open an S Note instantly as a pop-up window to jot down a quick note during a phone call, checking email or watching a video.
- Popup Video extends the concept of ‘Popup Play.’ While watching a video, with the touch of a button, the video will become a floating window on the display. The video will continue to play and it can be re-sized or positioned to any part of the GALAXY Note II’s screen. This versatility means that users are free to load other applications beneath it to browse online or work in other apps such as email, calendar or text messaging.
- Popup Browser launches a new browser window when a user clicks on a link embedded in an email.
Other key hardware changes to S Pen include a built-in “security system” for the stylus, with a built-in vibrating alarm and audible/visual alerts if the stylus is left outside of the device without active usage as a way to remind users to properly stow the stylus in the device when not in use.
Outside of the major updates to S Pen, the Note II also features the hallmarks of the current Galaxy series in the following features:
- S Beam – Tap back of Galaxy Note II against another S-Beam-enabled device to share large video files, documents or S Notes in seconds without using data service.
- Share Shot – Seamlessly share pictures taken with Galaxy Note II’s 8 megapixel camera to other phones from up to 200 feet away.
- Burst Shot/Best Shot – Capture rapid-fire still pictures with zero shutter lag; choose picture with optimal colors, lighting and clarity from Best Shot image recommendations.
- AllShare Cast™ and GroupCast™ have been expanded on the Galaxy Note II. Share premium video content, mobile games and movies and TV shows from Samsung Media Hub wirelessly with Samsung Smart TVs, laptops, tablets and other consumer electronics.
With the Galaxy Note II being planned for launch on all major carriers in November, this marks the first instance of the manufacturer launching the second version of a previous carrier exclusive across all devices, although T-Mobile very recently launched its version of the first generation Galaxy Note last month, which is rather strange release timing considering the proximity to the launch of its version of the Note II and has led to questions regarding the logic behind its release, especially as the Note has been subject to wildly variable availability and pricing.