A few lucky people got a good look at the next edition of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 at the IFA in Berlin.
We all know it’s packing a even bigger 5.5-inch display. The original has been a great success for the company, with more than 10 million shifted since its introduction not even a year ago. Super AMOLED 720p display, and inside the Note 2 is a quad-core Arm Cortex A9-based Exynos SoC CPU, teamed with a Mali-400MP4 grpahical chip. That GPU is so far the only GPU design with support for OpenGL ES 2, right up to 1080p -that means full 2D and 3D acceleration, so hooking it up to a full HD screen won’t pose any problems, and pixel-painting won’t be anything like the bottleneck it has proved so far on mobile devices for such graphical-intensive apps as gaming or even artwork software, which is especially useful when dealing with the Note 2 and its famed S-Pen stylus.
The global version (i.e. non-US) will sport HSPA 21 and LTE support, while the US version seems certain to be equipped with yet more connectivity sweetness thanks to HSPA 42 networking. The digitizer pen slips snugly into its own little bay on the new Note 2 , and so users should have plenty of fun annotating, jotting down notes, and even using design apps, thanks to the unbeatable combo of digitizer pen and huge screen space on which to work.
From the demos at IFA 2012, handwriting recognition software continues to improve on Samsung’s various devices, with the Note 2′s capabilities in that department superior even to those of the Galaxy Note 10.1 . Another game-changer for the UX is the ability of the Note 2 to register the pen hovering above the display, to a distance of a full centimeter – that means hover-functionality is coming to the touchscreen sphere. Samsung has already made use of that extra sensitivity to introduce a raft of hover features, for instance hovering over the subject field of your email inbox causes a tooltip-style window to appear with more details.
Everything that consumers expect of Samsung is here – impeccable build quality, suave design, first-rate responsiveness; the sort of flawless user experience that characterizes Apple’s hardware has become a given for Samsung, helping explain why the company has risen to be the unrivalled King of Android handset technology.
What the company probably didn’t know when designing the Note 2 was that Apple would stick to its 640 pixel width with the new iPhone 5, which has made the Note 2′s giant display all the more appealing for anyone looking for a bit more room on their device, and drawn a sharp dividing line between Apple’s flagship and Samsung’s super-sized device; it’s as if the two products are aiming at different segments of the market. What’s equally certain is that the Galaxy S3 won’t stand apart from the rest of the Samsung line-up as the flagship – it will be matched in performance by the new Note 2, surpassed very likely – and caters to a wholly different sort of need; this is more hand-sized tablet than smartphone; more stylus-input slate than swipe-around handset. And the return of good old-fashioned mouse-over functionality means the Android ecosystem just got a whole lot richer.
Final release date is as yet unknown, but all the American carriers are pencilling in mid-November as a likely candidate. Four Exynos cores zipping along at 1.6GHz, plus the full-on 2GB of RAM mean this is going to be an absolute speed daemon.
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