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Samsung Galaxy Note II: Have stylus, will travel

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(Read caption) The Samsung Galaxy Note II.

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Earlier this month, Samsung took the wraps off a device called the Galaxy Note 10.1 – "the first 10-inch Android tablet," one pundit noted, "to offer compelling, consumer-friendly features the iPad can't match." Among those features was a stylus, or S-Pen, which allows users to scribble notes in the margins of e-books or to draw with more precision than a mouse or finger. 

Now, a few weeks later, Samsung is rolling out the Note 10.1's little brother, the Galaxy Note II. (We know, all these Notes can be a little confusing.) Like the 10.1 and the original 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note II will ship with the stylus.

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But the Note II fit somewhere in between the 10.1 and 5.3 Notes – the display is 5.5-inches – putting it in extremely-large-smartphone/"phablet" territory." Specs are pretty strong: 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and Android Jelly Bean OS. 

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The phone, Samsung exec JK Shin said in a statement, will "encourage users to unleash their inner creativity. With a perfect viewing experience and unique and differentiated features, users can discover information and capture their ideas faster, express thoughts freely and manage tasks more efficiently."

No word yet on price, nor US launch, the Note II will go on sale in Europe and Asia in October. 

In related news, Samsung was recently ordered to pay approximately $1 billion in damages to Apple, after a California jury found it guilty of violating a range of patents. Apple, in turn, is pushing for injunctions against a number of Samsung handsets named in the litigation. That will likely hurt Samsung's standing in the market and put added importance on new devices such as the Note II. In fact, the case may mean that the Note II will never reach American shores, at least not until the appeals process plays out.