Samsung, the South Korean-based tech giant that outsold Apple to become the largest U.S. smartphone marker last year, announced Wednesday that it will be expanding its smartphone portfolio on February 19 with the launch of its new $399 Galaxy Note "super phone."
The Galaxy Note runs an Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, is 4G LTE-enabled, and runs off a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. It comes equipped with a 2.0-megapixel front-facing camera, a 8.0-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, HD video recording, and eReader capabilities.
The device’s most unique feature, however, is its design. The Galaxy Note touts a 5.3-inch, half-smartphone, half-tablet design that offers users the power of a larger tablet device without sacrificing portability, Samsung said.
"The Galaxy Note brings a new level of efficiency to busy customers who would normally rely on multiple devices," said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement. "This new breed of smartphone helps consumers accomplish more with a single device than ever before."
Samsung’s Galaxy Note also includes a new input tool called the S Pen, which allows users to write emails or texts, jot down notes, or sketch drawings directly on the device’s screen with a digital pen. Once written or drawn, the S Memo feature can be used to capture all forms of user-created content by the S Pen and convert them into sharable "memos."
While the Galaxy Note is slated to be released this month, another highly-anticipated Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy S3, will be hitting the market a bit later than expected.
The company confirmed this week that it will not be unveiling its new Galaxy S3 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona this month as anticipated, but will be demonstrating other "exciting new mobile products" in its place. Speculation that the Galaxy S3 would be introduced at MWC, which kicks off February 27, stemmed largely from the fact that Samsung lifted the curtain on the S3’s predecessor, the Galaxy S2, at the same event last year.
"The successor to the Galaxy S2 smartphone will be unveiled at a separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product," a Samsung spokesperson said. The company declined to specify which products it would showcase at MWC in place of the new Galaxy S3.
When released, the S3 is expected to boast a 12-megapixel camera, support Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich", a larger display than the S2's 4.27-inch screen, and either a dual- or quad-core processor.