Samsung to Introduce 5.5-Inch Note Tablet Aug. 29: Report

Samsung will introduce a 5.5-inch version of the Galaxy Note at the IFA 2012 show Aug. 29, according to a report. Expect the S Pen, 4G and a new celebrity mugging for the brand.

Samsung is planning to introduce a new Galaxy Note tablet Aug. 29 at the IFA 2012 trade show in Berlin, according to a report from Play Infinite, citing a Seoul newspaper.

Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note in November 2011, initially calling the unusually large device-with its 5.3-inch display and S Pen stylus-a smartphone. The company has since sold more than 10 million Notes, executives shared during an Aug. 15 event in Manhattan, during which they introduced another model-the Galaxy Note 10.1, which has a display as big as its name.

The newest Note, says Play Infinite, will slide in between the two, featuring a 5.5-inch display but at a resolution of 1280 by 720-disappointingly close to the 1280 by 800 of the 5.3-inch model.

"That's definitely going to mean a lower PPI [pixels per inch], which means you may be able to spot more pixels, if that's how Samsung did it," said the site. It also notes that 3G/4G radios will be on board, but by 4G Samsung seems to mean Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+).

Which is kind of a bummer. A recent J.D. Power and Associates survey found "stark performance differences" between Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and older 4G technologies, such as HSPA+ and WiMax.

"This one's running a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 processor, and as far as I know, that processor actually doesn't support LTE radios, meaning it will probably just have the HSPA+, as well as 3G," said Play Infinite.

The site also reports that customers can expect 16GB and 32GB storage options, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera-such as on the current Note-and a front-facing camera with a resolution that's anyone's guess. (The current Note has a 2MP model up-front, which is a good place to start the guessing.)

While Play Infinite is disappointed by the camera news-upgrade, please!-two welcome advances, if the rumors hold up, are that the speedy quad-core processor and the "Jelly Bean" version of Google's Android that's said to be running on the tablet out-of-the-box. That's a definite upgrade over the Ice Cream Sandwich on the Note 10.1 and the Gingerbread that the Note originally shipped with.

Giving further legitimacy to the footage Play Infinite has found, Samsung seems to be continuing to use star power to help promote its S Pen-equipped tablets, which it has described as "redefining" the tablet market. While during the Galaxy Note 10.1 launch the company showed filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and fashion designer Zac Posen using the tablet in their creative lives-Luhrmann snapping an inspiring photo and embellishing it with the S Pen, and Posen coloring in designs with the stylus-snippets of the newest Note short film show German director Wim Wenders wandering around looking thoughtful.

Apple-though it has yet to send out invitations or say anything of the sort-is expected to introduce the iPhone 5 Sept. 12. Hopping into the spotlight before Apple takes it over, Nokia, Motorola, Amazon and others are expected to make device announcements the week before.

Analysts have called Samsung clever for using the "dead spot in Apple's release cycle" to introduce the Galaxy S III smartphone. It's not a stretch to think it plans to use the last days of that cycle, and some seeming downtime before it re-pursues its court battle with Apple, to introduce a new tablet.