Samsung Galaxy Note II (global)
Samsung today announced the GamePad, a gaming accessory for its Android smartphones. The GamePad resembles a gaming control unit from today's living room gaming consoles. It supports a number of Samsung smartphones, cradling devices with screens ranging from 4 inches to 6.3 inches. It connects to smartphones via Bluetooth and an associated application. The GamePad provides physical controls for games, and connects to TVs through an HDMI cable or AllShare Screen Mirroring. The GamePad requires Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Samsung recommends it be used with devices such as the Galaxy S III and S4, and the Note II and Note 3. The GamePad includes support for NFC for easy device pairing. The Mobile Console app for the GamePad is available for download through the Samsung App store. The Samsung GamePad is launching first in European markets with others to follow in the coming weeks. Samsung has not shared specific plans to offer the GamePad in the U.S. yet.
Facebook today made Facebook Home, its new launcher and user interface overlay, available to select Android smartphones. Facebook Home replaces the stock launcher on the device with one that presents Facebook content, such as the news feed, on the home screen. Facebook Home is preinstalled on the HTC First, which also happens to go on sale today from AT&T for $99, but it can also be installed on the HTC One X, One X+, One, and Samsung Galaxy S 3 and Note II. Separately, Facebook also updated the Facebook Messenger application for Android devices. The revised Messenger app carries over one of the main features of Facebook Home, called Chat Heads (pictured). With Chat Heads active, Android device owners can keep conversations with friends always at hand by placing a little icon with the friend's head in it on the home screen. Both Facebook Home and Facebook Messenger are free to download from the Google Play Store.
Samsung today provided information about a software update for the Galaxy S III. The Premium Suite is an add-on that includes a handful of new features such as a split-screen mode similar to the one on the Galaxy Note II. This will let the GSIII operate two different apps at the same time, each appearing in its own window on the display. Other features of the Premium Suite include better control over browser font size, contextual awareness (opens music app when headphones are plugged in, etc.), and easier photo sharing via NFC. The Premium Suite is being rolled out to devices in other markets around the world first. U.S. carriers have not indicated when they might make the update available to their own customers.
Apple has filed a request with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in an attempt to add six more Samsung devices to an existing lawsuit against the Korean company. The new devices are the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Rugby Pro, and Galaxy III Mini, as well as the Galaxy Tab 8.9 WiFi and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Apple alleges that these newer devices infringe on many of the same patents it accused Samsung of violating in a lawsuit it filed in February of this year. Apple said that if it isn't allowed to add these device to the existing case, it will be required to file an entirely new lawsuit. This is a separate case from the one that delivered a guilty verdict against Samsung in August of this year.
U.S. Cellular today revealed that it will sell the Samsung Galaxy Note II for $299.99 when it goes on sale later this year. U.S. Cellular will sell the 16GB titanium version of the Note II. It will be available by the end of October.
Samsung today announced that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless will all sell their own variants of the Galaxy Note II. Samsung said that availability and price will be announced by each carrier separately, though it noted that all the carriers will offer the Note II by mid-November. It will run on the LTE 4G networks of AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless, as well as the HSPA+ network of T-Mobile USA. The Note II takes the design language of the Galaxy S III and expands it to include a 5.5-inch display. It has a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos processor, a redesign S Pen, and expanded S Pen apps.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II doesn't have any U.S. carriers yet, but Phone Scoop spent some time with it anyway. Here are our initial impressions of Samung's latest phablet.