Is it a phone? Is it a tablet? No, it’s the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, the next-gen ‘phablet’ by the Korean giant, expected to hit shelves later this year.
While most mobile phones have been shrunk to within an inch of their lives, others, particularly smartphones, are becoming bigger, wider and slimmer.
When it was released last year, the Galaxy Note changed the mobile landscape and took the 'is it a phone or tablet?' debate to new heights, with it's 5.3-inch screen causing confusion among industry heads and consumers alike.
Some referred to it as a slate, others said it was too small for a tablet status and should be marketed as a smartphone, while the rest simply didn't know what to make of it.
So what can we expect from the Note’s widely-anticipated successor and will it arrive to much fanfare or to further scrutiny? We’ve scoured the web for the latest news and rumours to find out…
Galaxy Note 2 release date
With news of a next-gen iPhone hogging headlines across the globe, rumour has it Samsung has pushed forward the Galaxy Note release date to September – it was first reported to launch in October – a move some believe was designed to take some heat off the launch of the new iPhone.
While the two won’t be in direct competition with each other (phablets are an acquired taste in today’s compact kit mad society), it will give Samsung the opportunity to flaunt the device ahead of the mooted next-gen iPhone’s launch.
As reported by T3 last month, the iPhone 5 is rumoured to land some time in either September or October, but enough about Apple’s next-gen blower.
This piece is all about Samsung (however, if you'd like to read more on the next iPhone, check out our iPhone 5 rumours roundup for all the latest gossip).
Bean there, done that!
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will reportedly come pre-installed on the second-generation Note. Aside from a seriously funky name, the new OS, coupled with the Note 2's bold and beautiful screen, will make the user experience all the more pleasant, particularly where gameplay is concerned.
The new and improved smooth-running operating system by Google means users are able to use features such as Google Now and Android beam on the upcoming hybrid device.
A half decent screen
While most devices are proud of their slender frames, Samsung’s Galaxy Note is curvy and proud. So proud, in fact, that it’s about to get a whole lot bigger – albeit, only by 0.2 inches (but that’s a lot in smartphone land).
Sources say the upcoming handset will sport a 5.5-inch super AMOLED screen – a small boost from its predecessor’s 5.3-inch display – but as a compromise, the screen will actually be less wide, as the handset itself is reported to don a slimmer form factor.
OK, so it may not be championing the larger-than-life gadgets movement (we take back our comment above about the original Note being curvy and proud) – all Samsung is doing is relocating some of the fat to other areas of the blower-cum-tablet – but the increased length will make, say, browsing the web or reading emails a tad easier.
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- New form factor
- 12-megapixel camera
- Quadcore processor
- 5.5-inch display (with 1680 x 1050 resolution)
- Super AMOLED display
A tweet mistake
While everyone more or less figured that Samsung will release a follow-up to its successful Galaxy Note phablet, it was never officially confirmed – well, not until an employee tweeted about it by ‘mistake’.
Last month, reports surfaced of a tweet sent by a Samsung Arabia employee, which more or less outted the upcoming device.
It read: "Which one of these are you excited about: #GalaxyBeam #GalaxyTab2 #GalaxyNote2 #Poll."
As one would expect, the tweet was removed not long afterwards but it is the first clear indication given by Samsung that a second Note is in the works (we'd start saving if we were you).
While making mistakes is all part of the job, the idea that an employee accidentally let slip the existence of an important handset is pretty, well, unbelievable.
The launch of a new Note isn’t something Samsung would want to let slip (unless it wanted to, of course), so it may well be that this is purely a PR stunt designed to boost publicity around the device prior to its official launch. If that’s the case, we’re happy they did it.
Flexible display? Yeah right!
Of all the Galaxy Note 2 rumours that have surfaced around the web, the craziest one we’ve heard so far is that the device will land with a flexible display.
Yes, one of those horrible screens that you can turn and twist. This is according to Korean newspaper MK Business News, which wrote:
“South Korea’s Samsung Electronics will be releasing a flexible display-equipped successor model to the Galaxy Note in October so as to compete against Apple’s iPhone 5.”
While we understand that rumours should be taken with a pinch of salt, we’re not convinced that Samsung will release a flexible display for the Galaxy Note 2 – we’d expect a screen such as this to land on a more prominent device, like the Samsung Galaxy S4.
*Warning, the latter sentence is not a Galaxy S4 rumour, and should not be treated as such.