By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Dallas – Samsung plans a broad U.S. launch of its Galaxy Note II smartphone/tablet in time for the Christmas selling season through carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular.
The hybrid smartphone/tablet with 5.5-inch screen, unveiled last month at the IFA show in Berlin, will feature 4G LTE and HSPA+ 42 cellular technology, Samsung said.
Although carriers haven’t yet announced phone pricing, Sprint said the Note II on its LTE network would require activation on one of the carrier’s Sprint Everything Data plans starting at just $79.99 per month. Samsung also said its version will include international voice and data roaming on GSM/UMTS/CDMA networks.
The Note II will be Sprint’s first device to launch with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the carrier’s first smartphone with a display larger than 5 inches, and Sprint’s first device to launch with a quad-core processor.
Sprint will make the Note II available in both color options: Marble White and Titanium Gray.
For its part, T-Mobile said the Note II would be its first smartphone with quad-core processor and its first with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The company also said it will offer the 4G HSPA+42Mbps version of the phone but didn’t offer additional details about its version of the phone or launch date.
Verizon and AT&T didn’t offer statements at posting time.
The Note II, which can be used with supplied stylus to input notes, is slightly smaller and lighter than its predecessor, but it offers a slightly larger screen, bigger battery and faster processor. In addition, because of a narrower bezel on all four sides of the screen, the screen is larger even though the overall device is narrower.
The U.S. version of the Note II will be among the first cellphones available to combine a quad-core processor with 4G LTE. The device features Samsung’s own Exynos 1.6GHz quad-core processor compared with its predecessor’s dual-core processor. The new device also features 2GB of internal RAM, 16GB of onboard file storage, and ability to accept 64GB MicroSD cards. The combination of technologies delivers “easy multitasking, lightning-fast screen transitions, powerful browser performance and minimal app load time,” the company said.
The Note II is Samsung’s first smartphone to launch with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s also a Samsung SAFE-designated device, delivering additional security features for enterprises.
The Galaxy Note II features 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED 1,280 by 720 touchscreen with 16:9 aspect ratio, up from the original Note’s 5.3 inches. It comes with a 3,100 mAh battery, up from the original Note’s 2500mAh.
Also redesigned is the S Pen stylus, now slightly larger to make its grip more pen-like, and it adds a rubber tip to avoid the possibly scratching the screen. The S Pen also offers new features such as Air View, or hover-mode. When the S Pen is held less than half an inch above a folder or calendar event, contents are displayed in a preview mode to avoid continual opening/back and closing/back to locate an item.
The S Pen also can be used to lasso and cut segments of images or web pages to share separately from the whole, and it can be used to write notes on web pages or apps for sharing.
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