The Galaxy Note -- which is already the biggest gosh-darn smartphone you can spend your money on -- is getting even bigger.
At the IFA tech conference in Berlin, Samsung pulled back the (gigantic) curtain on the Galaxy Note II, its followup to last year's wildly, perhaps surprisingly, successful Galaxy Note phablet. The Galaxy Note II will offer a 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display (up from 5.3 inches on the previous model); Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean," the new version of Android unveiled at a Google event in June; and will come with the Samsung S Pen. Several apps have been optimized for use with the stylus, too.
The Galaxy Note II will also pack 2GB RAM, 4G LTE, a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, and a much larger battery, which should help with the substandard battery issues of the previous Note.
Just as the screen has been upgraded, so too has the S Pen. The stylus -- which is perhaps, aside from the mammoth display size, the Galaxy Note's most distinguishing aspect -- will -- now has a rubber tip and a better grip. A new feature, called Air View, allows a user to hover the tip of the pen over certain content on the screen in order to bring up a preview of that content. For example, holding the S Pen over an email will show a snippet of the conversation. Also, if you are in the middle of a phone call, you can hover the stylus over the screen and a new note will appear, allowing you to jot down an address or phone number while talking.
How else does the Galaxy Note II compare with the original Galaxy Note? CNET has a helpful chart here: Maybe most interestingly, the Galaxy Note II is only two grams heavier than the previous Note, despite having a larger display and meatier battery.
As TechCrunch points out, the Galaxy Note II is an important bellwether for Samsung in the United States. The smartphone-tablet hybrid device will be Samsung's first major smartphone release following its massive loss to Apple in its high-profile patent infringement case. The release is also a chance for Samsung to reestablish its reputation in the States. (Indeed, the theme of the Samsung event in Berlin was creativity, with Samsung trotting out the iconic German indie director Wim Wenders as a "creative ambassador.")
Though Samsung did not provide pricing information or a firm U.S. release date, it did tell SlashGear that Americans can expect the Galaxy Note II by the end of 2012; internationally, the Galaxy Note will be available in October. We'll see if Samsung's bigger Galaxy Note can top the big sales (over ten million units worldwide!) of its previous one, and if its courtroom defeat will have any impact on the Note's desirability.
Check out photos from Samsung's press conference, as well as publicity shots of the new Note.