Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Note II, the Jelly Bean-equipped successor to its surprisingly successful smartphone-tablet hybrid.
The original Note was quite a hit for Samsung, despite its focus on the stylus — a feature that many had written off with the industry switch from resistive to capacitive touchscreens. The new version adds functionality to the stylus, while also boosting other specifications.
The Note II, revealed at the IFA show in Berlin on Wednesday, has a 5.5-inch screen with a new 16:9 aspect ratio, compared with the original Note, which had a 16:10 ratio. The body of the device is marginally thinner than that of its predecessor, at 9.4mm rather than 9.65mm.
The dimensions of the S Pen stylus have also changed. The new S Pen is longer and thicker, and offers a more ergonomic grip, according to Samsung.
One of the most intriguing new features of the S Pen is Air View, which brings up previews of emails, image galleries and videos by hovering the stylus over them.
An S Pen button tells the device that selected content is to be copied or edited, while the 'Easy Clip' feature is intended to make outlining and cropping easier.
One handy feature comes into play when the user pulls out the S Pen during a phone call — this fires up the S Note app. The stylus can also be used to make special gestures on the screen, to do things such as initiating calls and bringing up emails.
Inside, the Note II runs on a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and offers HSPA Plus or 4G connectivity. The battery capacity is 3,100mAh, and storage options run from 16GB to 64GB. The device also has expandable storage via microSD.
The rear camera has an 8-megapixel resolution and the front-facing camera 1.9MP. Users can choose which are their 'best faces' — "the most preferred face or pose of each person from group portrait photos" — and the device has the same Smart Stay feature as the Galaxy S III. This uses the front-facing camera to stop the phone going into standby when someone is using it.
The Galaxy Note II will be available in October in "major European, Asian, and Middle East markets", Samsung said. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Samsung also showed off its new 16-megapixel Android-based camera at IFA. The Wi-Fi-enabled Galaxy Camera has 21x optical zoom and runs Jelly Bean (Android 4.1).
In this case, Android makes it possible to edit and share photos and videos, and also to download and use apps such as Instagram.
Samsung is not the first camera manufacturer to incorporate Android functionality into its products: Polaroid and more recently Nikon have already used the OS to beef up their cameras' capabilities.