Samsung readies Galaxy Note 2 for Aug. 29 launch

Spokesman tells Reuters that the device, rumored to have a 5.5-in. screen, will be unveiled in Berlin just prior to IFA conference

Samsung will unveil the larger Galaxy Note 2 on August 29 in Berlin, according to a Reuters report today.

Reuters reported Friday morning that a Samsung spokesman told it that the next Galaxy Note will be unveiled two days before the Aug. 31 start of the IFA conference in Berlin.

Samsung could not be reached to elaborate on the Reuters report.

Various reports and blogs have indicated the next Galaxy Note will have a 5.5-in. screen, and a faster processor and higher quality camera that the first generation 5.3-in. Note.

T-Mobile USA plans to begin its sales of the original Note on sale Aug. 8. T-Mobile said the $250 device will run Android 4.0 and include the Samsung Premium Suite update that, among other things, improves the digital stylus capabilities.

AT&T began shipping the original Note in February. The AT&T version of the device ran Android 2.3 before a recent upgrade to Android 4.0.

The success of the Note has taken some users and analysts by surprise. Samsung announced in late spring that the device had sold 5 million units.

Critics had called it too large to hold in one hand for most functions, though others have said the larger screen offers a fairly light -- 6.3 ounces -- and smart smartphone-tablet mix.

The Note's large screen follows a trend of increasing smartphone screen sizes, which now range from 3.5-in. to 4.8-in. The fifth generation iPhone is expected to have a 4-in. screen when it's unveiled on Sept 12. The current iPhone has a 3.5-in. screen.

The first-generation Galaxy Note features a 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm S3 processor, 1 GB of Ram and 16 GB of built-in storage plus a MicroSD slot. Its Super Amoled display is 1280 x 800 pixels. An 8-megapixel camera on the rear complements a 2-megapixel front camera, and there's a 2100 mAh battery.

Various reports have indicated that Samsung will announce the U.S. availability of the Galaxy Note 10.1 at a New York event being held Aug. 15. That device was first unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, and it also features a stylus.

Both August events by Samsung come before the expected Sept. 12 unveiling of Apple's new iPhone.

Apple and Samsung are in a classic smartphone competition -- the iPhone is still the top selling single model, while shipments of Samsun's various models are nearly doubled Apple's count in the second quarter, according to IDC and Strategy Analytics.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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