Taking the stage at IFA 2012, South Korean technology giant Samsung has announced the successor to its stylus-equipped, supersized Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note II. Due for release this October, Samsung is billing the Galaxy Note II as the “most powerful smartphone in the marketplace.” Besides upgraded specs, the substantial “phablet” as Samsung is now categorizing it, features a new and improved S Pen stylus, reduced bezel and slightly larger screen size - up from 5.3 to 5.5 inches.

The Galaxy Note II will arrive with the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system pre-installed (also coming to previous-model Note's) and modified slightly to incorporate some software enhancements designed to make full use of that new S Pen, which is now longer, thicker and more sensitive than before.

On the software front, S Pen improvements include "Air View" - which allows users to hover over documents like photo galleries and emails to see a preview of content, and the ability to write comments on the "back" of a digital photo, lending the image something of an analog feel. A nice touch indicative of the care Samsung has taken with the S Pen improvements is that users can simply draw around something, such as a document, word or image, in order to copy it.

Launched at IFA in Berlin, the Galaxy Note II features increased S Pen software enhancements over its predecessor

Referring to the writing experience offered by the Note II, Jean-Daniel Ayme (Vice President, European Telecommunication Operations, Samsung Electronics) enthused "It's not like the real thing. It is the real thing."

The Galaxy Note II's two cameras have also been upgraded to an 8 megapixel rear-facing, and 1.9 megapixel front facing camera, each with HD video recording capabilities. The Buddy Photo Share, Burst Shot and Best Photo features first introduced with the Galaxy S III smartphone earlier this year have been carried over to the Note II, and it also has an exclusive photo-related feature called Best Faces, which enables users to choose the preferred face or pose of each person from group portrait photos.

The Galaxy Note II's technical specifications are as follows:

  • 1.6 GHz quad-core
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 3,100 mAh battery
  • 3G and 4G/LTE
  • 5.5" 16:9 HD super Amoled screen
  • 9.4 mm (0.37 inch) thick
  • 180 grams (6.3 oz)
  • 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB internal memory options
  • Expandable micro SD memory slot
  • 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.9 megapixel front camera

The Galaxy Note II will be offered in "Marble White" and "Titanium Grey" and will begin to appear in "major European, Asian, and Middle East markets" from October 2012.