If you think about all the new devices that are coming out these days, most of them are upwards of five inches, with many hovering around the 5.5-inch mark. While that’s a norm today, it wasn’t so a couple of years ago.
Back then, to have a smartphone that had a screen size of more than five inches was bordering on the absurd. But, one smartphone changed that. One smartphone kickstarted a revolution in smartphones, their screen sizes, and what we could do with them.
Here’s a brief look at that smartphone and the handset lineup it spawned. The pioneer that led to an entire generation of large form-factor handsets — the Samsung Galaxy Note.
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It may be 2 years old, but Samsung isn’t forgetting about its Galaxy Note II when it comes to sofware updates. Initially spotted on Samsung Finland’s website that it will be upgradable, Samsung Poland has confirmed via twitter that it will indeed be getting the Android 5.0 Lollipop update.
Currently Samsung has started pushing the latest Lollipop version for its Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4. Other devices expected to receive it would include their Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. Although there’s no firm schedules yet, Samsung this time around appears to be quicker in software updates compared to its rivals.
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The Galaxy Note II is more than 2 years old but it isn’t forgotten by Samsung when it comes to software updates. Based on Samsung Finland’s website, it appears that both the Galaxy Note II and last year’s Galaxy S4 will be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Other models receiving the new OS update also include Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy S5 mini, Galaxy Note II (4G version), Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 4. Surprisingly the Galaxy S5 isn’t listed with Android 5.0 coming soon considering it has started rolling out in Poland. Like any software update, the roll out times will vary depending on region and hopefully Malaysian users should be getting in within the first quarter of 2015.
The Android 5.0 Lollipop update delivers new features along with a fresh Material Design approach. Apart from that, performance is expected to be improved as Lollipop uses Android RunTime (ART) instead of the usual Dalvik runtime.
Check out the walk through of the Android 5.0 Lollipop interface on the Galaxy S5 after the break.
Finally Samsung Galaxy Note II users in Malaysia are getting its Android 4.4.2 Kitkat update that is being pushed Over the Air (OTA). Apart from getting new OS features and security fixes, the update also brings a new music album art interface on the home screen while the lock screen comes with a new camera shortcut.
The update file is about 416MB in size so it is recommended that you use WiFi for this. If you haven’t receive any notifications yet, you can check manually at Settings > More > About Device > Software update. If you can’t download it from your phone, you can try updating using Samsung Kies desktop software which you can download here.
Like any other firmware upgrades, it is advisable to perform a full backup of your files especially photos and videos.
Thanks Pok Jik for the heads up!
Samsung has just unveiled yet another Galaxy phablet in the form of a Galaxy Note 3 Neo. This slots right in between its current Galaxy Note 3 flagship and its predecessor Galaxy Note II. In terms of specs, it is pretty much an upgraded Galaxy Note II which retains the similar 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED display that does 1280×720 pixels resolution, 8MP rear camera, 2GB of RAM and the same 3,100mAh capacity battery. As comparison, the Galaxy Note 3 is still a notch above with a 5.7″ Full HD Super AMOLED display, 3GB of RAM and a 13MP camera that shoots 4K videos.
UPDATE: Samsung Malaysia is bringing in the 3G HSPA+ model and runs on a Hexa-Core processor. More details here.
The Galaxy Note 3 Neo comes in 2 versions – 3G HSPA+ and 4G LTE+ variant. The 4G LTE+ version runs on a newer Hexa-Core processor consisting of a dual-core 1.7GHz Cortex A15 and a quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex A7.
Meanwhile the 3G HSPA+ unit runs on a quad-core 1.6GHz Cortex A7 processor instead. In terms of storage, there’s 16GB on board which can be expanded with microSD card.
Design wise, it follows its Galaxy Note 3 design with a faux leather back cover and the speaker grill is now placed at the bottom of the device. Interestingly the Galaxy Note 3 Neo retains the standard micro USB port instead of using the bigger micro USB 3.0 type found on the flagship Note 3.
Head after the break for comparison shots between the Galaxy Note 3 Neo and the Galaxy Note 3 from GSM Arena.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo is seen as an upgrade of the previous 5.5″ Samsung Galaxy Note II that’s a notch below its current Note 3 flagship. Now its official product shots have been leaked, revealing a refreshed look that’s similar with its current Galaxy Note 3 and it comes with a faux-leather back cover. The buttons and placement of its rear camera remains unchanged but the speaker vent is now placed at the bottom, which is similar to the current Note 3.
Specification wise, it was rumoured to retain the same 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED display pushing 1280×720 pixels resolution, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, microSD slot, 8MP camera and 3,100mAh battery. The biggest upgrade is the processor where the Note 3 Neo now comes with a new Exynos Hexa-Core unit that consists of 2 cores at 1.7GHz and 4 cores running at 1.3GHz which doesn’t run simultaneously. In terms of connectivity, it also supports 4G LTE as well.
Judging by the January 27th date displayed on the screen, the Galaxy Note 3 Neo could be announced next week. A Belgian retailer has started accepting pre-orders at a rather hefty 599 Euros.
Head after the break for additional product shots.
When it comes to latest Android OS updates, some manufacturers would often give its older flagship device a pass. If you’re using a Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note II, Samsung appears not to be giving up on you.
According to a source, Samsung is working on an Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade beyond its current Samsung Galaxy S4 model. The roll out of KitKat for Galaxy S III and Note II is expected to happen later in Q1 this year which is sometime in March. As expected, the new update offers software improvements and probably its latest UI interface which was leaked earlier on. Currently Samsung has started rolling out its KitKat upgrade for the Galaxy Note 3 Exynos version which isn’t available here.
The current Android 4.4 KitKat is designed to work with older devices (as low as 512MB of RAM) in an attempt to close the fragmentation gap among Android smart phones. If it can work with a downgraded Nexus 4 with dual-core processor and only 512MB RAM on-board, there’s little reason why manufacturers are not sharing the KitKat goodness around.
Samsung has been rumoured to be working on a Galaxy Note 3 Lite which offers large screen phablet experience at a lower price point. Now GSMArena has gotten the full details and the upcoming device is expected to be called as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo.
While most people are expecting the new device to be a stripped down version of the current Note 3 flagship, the Galaxy Note 3 Neo is more of an upgraded of its previous generation Galaxy Note II. This is a similar trend with previous models such as the Galaxy S II Plus. The front screen maintains a similar 5.5″ Super AMOLED display that does 720p HD resolution. Other than that, the Galaxy Note 3 Neo also comes with a similar 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, 8MP main camera with 1.9MP at the front and the same 3,100mAh capacity battery.
New on the Galaxy Note 3 Neo is a purported Hexa-Core processor that consists of a dual-core 1.7GHz and a quad-core 1.3GHz combo. Like the current Exynos processors the Hexa-Core processor should only be running with either modes and not all 6 cores running at the same time. While everything else remains unchanged, Hexa-Core processor should offer a much needed boost over its previous Quad-Core 1.6GHz processor.
With the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on-board, the Galaxy Note 3 Neo also gets the latest Samsung Smart features such as Air Play, Air Gesture, Air Command and Smart Scroll as the current Note 3. The USB connection is also upgraded to USB 3.0 for faster transfers which means a larger micro USB port similar to the one found on the Note 3.
No further details on pricing and availability yet but it is expected to be priced somewhere in between the current Galaxy Note 3 & the Galaxy Note II. Head after the break for more images of the Galaxy Note 3 Neo details.
The Galaxy Note II gets a new lease on life with a fresh firmware update. The Note II has been running Android 4.1.2 since its release but now both the 3G (N7100) and LTE (N7105) version get Android 4.3 bringing with it a number of much needed enhancements and features that improve the device’s performance considerably and improve the device’s usability. With the update the Galaxy Note II gets support for the Galaxy Gear, the Samsung KNOX security software and Samsung Wallet.
While Samsung doesn’t provide changelogs for its updates here are some of the changes and improvements that comes with the new firmware, amongst others:
As always, the update is released in batches and as of writing, Malaysia is not yet on the list but we expect it to be available soon, and it’s a good thing that local operators don’t usually install bloatware in their devices because that helps in making updates available here faster.
Once available you can update your Galaxy Note II using the Samsung KIES software (which is sometimes faster than OTA) or you can get it over-the-air direct to your device by going to Settings > More > About Device > Software update > Update. If you got the update, do let us know. We’ll be more than happy to share it here.
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When the Galaxy Gear smart watch was revealed, it was only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. Now Samsung has finally announced that more Galaxy models such as the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III will soon be able to pair with their smart watch.
This is made possible through a Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update which is expected to be rolled out to Galaxy S4 users in October while Galaxy S III and Note II users will start receiving it in December. Just recently, HTC has started rolling out Android 4.3 update for HTC One internationally as well.
The Galaxy Gear is currently priced at RM999 in Malaysia and it is given out free to eligible customers who purchase a Note 3 on contract with Maxis, Celcom and DiGi. We still think that the Galaxy Gear would have gotten more traction if they open up to more devices such as Pebble Smart Watch which is compatible with both iOS and Android platform. Even Sony’s own smart watch is at least compatible with most Android devices.
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