Verizon has a thing for carrier branding. Lately though, they've really been going overboard, particularly on the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which had a Verizon logo on the home button. That easily won the award for most obnoxious carrier branding ever on a phone.
In Vegas though, Verizon has topped themselves. David and I were wandering around the "CES Digital Experience" pre-show event and we saw THIS:
This thing Is the Verizon Galaxy Note 10.1. Now you might look at that picture and think that's not a big deal, but keep in mind this isn't a phone, or a 7 inch tablet, this is a 10 inch tablet.
I panned the Note 10.1 in my review. It was subtitled "An Embarrassing, Lazy, Arrogant Money Grab" and, for my conclusion, I took a picture of it in a trashcan. I did not like it. It had erratic performance, a squishy, creaky back, and a bunch of gimmicky features that didn't work. Now, I've got a Note II!
I'm happy to report the Note II is not as crappy as its bigger brother. It's much more solidly built in comparison, really fast, and god help me, some of the TouchWiz features are actually good. They greatly improved the split screen app feature of the Note 10.1, and I think Samsung has finally found their huge, differentiating software feature that they've been searching for.
For the first time, Samsung's largest flagship line will be landing on Sprint with the Galaxy Note II. During the initial launch, though, you better know you want it as this device will come with a whopping $300 price tag with a new two year contract. This isn't unheard of for some major devices, but it still ranks as one of the most expensive handsets you can buy.
The Note II will be launching with Android 4.1.1, LTE, and the same Exynos processor as the international version. As we know, devices that use the Exynos 4 processor require a discrete LTE chip outside the SoC itself which can add thickness to a phone.
So, the other day, in New York, Samsung gathered up a bunch of bloggers and showed us the international Galaxy Note 2. They wouldn't tell us anything about their North American plans, only that the international version would be pretty close to the NA version, and that they'd be sending out NA review units soon. So, while we're waiting for the real one to get here, we thought it'd be fun to take a quick look at the international version.
The Note II is a crazy piece of hardware - just holding it is an experience. It has to be the biggest screen ever released on a phone.
PocketNow has gotten its hands on what very much look like some leaked press images (and specification details) of the Galaxy Note II, which is expected to be announced in just about an hour. First, to the pictures:
The specifications have basically lined up with a lot of what has been rumored already, including:
1.6GHz quad-core processor (probably a clocked-up Exynos 4412 from the Galaxy S III)
5.5" Super AMOLED panel (1280x720 - true 16:9 compared to the original Note's 1280x800)
HSPA+ and LTE (depending on model - we'd put our money on a Snapdragon S4 version with LTE for the US)
Blue and white colors at launch (same as GSIII)
8MP rear / 1.9MP front cameras
PocketNow also discusses some of the new features of the Note II, including the improved S-Pen.
The existence of the successor to Samsung's surprise hit Galaxy Note is hardly a secret. And if they're going to display it anywhere, it'll be at the IFA in Berlin, where the original was first shown off last year. It looks like Sammy is done with subtle insinuations (not to mention tablet adaptations) and is ready to formally tease us: they've posted the first video for their Unpacked event at the show later this month. What makes us think that the fleeting glances in the video are the Galaxy Note 2? Take a look for yourself.
Aside from the fact that it will once again have a stylus S-Pen and is apparently favored by obscure German art film directors, we're still very much in the dark on what the Galaxy Note 2 (or whatever it might be called) will look like.
We've been hearing rumors of the Galaxy Note 2 for several weeks now, and a pretty believable image of the device has now made its way onto the net ahead of Samsung's August 29th event where we fully expect the device to be announced.
What makes this picture all the more believable is the fact that a previously leaked image of the purported Note 2 digitizer perfectly matches up with what we're seeing today.
Samsung will be holding an event on August 29th at IFA in Berlin. Sound familiar? It should, because Korean news publication Digital Daily outed this event back in mid July. At the time it was said that Samsung would be announcing the Galaxy Note 2, which seems to be highly likely considering the event invite:
It doesn't really get any more obvious than that, so we'd be willing to put some money on the table that the next iteration of the Note will definitely be the highlight of the event. Digital Daily didn't stop with event details back in July, either; it also gave some pretty believable specifications about the device, noting that it could have a 5.5" display with a smaller bezel, which should keep the overall device size comparable to the Note 1.
Earlier this week, Korean publication Digital Daily spread a few rumors of an upcoming Samsung event said to be happening in August where the company may unveil the Galaxy Note 2.
Guess what? We just got a save the date for a Samsung event on August 15th where Samsung will be "unveiling of the newest GALAXY device." It could be the Galaxy Note 2 - or perhaps the U.S. announcement of the Galaxy Note 10.1. It's anyone's guess right now, but we'll keep you posted as more information arises.