Samsung Galaxy Note heads to the U.S. on Feb. 19

by Kristen Nicole

As we approach Mobile World Congress 2012, Samsung is making it quite clear that it plans to dominate the mobile scene, though that won’t include the anticipated Galaxy S III debut.  However, Samsung could still whet our appetites with the Galaxy S Advance. And while we can expect Android 4.0 tablet upgrades from Samsung later this year, the Galaxy Note will be available in the U.S. at AT&T stores in just a few days. Samsung’s also gaining global appeal with a pink Galaxy S II to be released in the UK just in time for Valentine’s Day. And further east, Disney teams up with Japan’s Docomo for two new phones, kicking off a new phase for Disney Mobile and branded devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note

Early this week Samsung announced its plans to bring the Samsung Galaxy Note stateside with a Feb. 19th launch for AT&T customers. The Galaxy Note comes with a 5.3-inch, 1280x800 screen, putting it smack dab in the “phablet” range. Samsung hopes the Galaxy Note will appeal to consumers looking to merge their smartphone and tablet into one device. It will be powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, with 16GB of built-in memory, putting the Galaxy Note on par with most high-end Android devices, smartphone or otherwise. Geared up for AT&T’s 4G LTE network, the Galaxy Note’s massive 2500 mAh battery should help extend device use. There’s also an SD card slot, support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and an 8-megappixel rear-facing camera with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Priced at $299.00 with a two-year agreement, the Galaxy Note ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and is expected to get an Ice Cream Sandwich update in the future.

Samsung Galaxy S Advance

As speculation mounts over the delayed release of the Galaxy S II follow-up, Samsung issued a statement saying the S III will not be launched at the upcoming Mobile World Congress event. It’s a disappointment, but the Galaxy S III is still expected to be unveiled sometime in the first half of the year. In the meantime, the world readies for the Galaxy S Advance, a beefed up version of the original Galaxy S. It’s expected to have a dual-core 1GHz processor, a 4-inch 800x480 Super AMOLED touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and 6GB of on-board storage. Running Android Gingerbread, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance could get an ICS upgrade some time in the future too.

Pink Galaxy S II

As Samsung makes its way across the globe, its Galaxy S II makes a special appearance in the UK, donning all pink. With a release date of Feb. 13, there’s little doubt that this heart-colored Android phone is a special release for Valentine’s Day. There’s no difference in the hardware or software for the hued Galaxy S II, one of Samsung’s most successful handsets to date. It features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and a slim design. There’s a full gigabyte of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and 16GB of internal storage.

Disney F-08D and P-05D

Disney Mobile is expanding its global reach as well, adding Docomo as a partner in addition to its long-standing deal with Softbank. Launching this week in Japan are two new Disney-branded devices with less-than-memorable names – the F-08D and P-05D. Both devices have been stripped of a good portion of their Android markers, leaving plenty of room for Docomo branding and software. The Android Market has been replaced with Docomo’s own dmarket, and you’ll find Mickey and his friends prominently featured throughout, from the clock on the home screen to prioritized links to Disney mobile content, including special offers for Disney theme parks and stores. Another perk for Docomo is the prevalence of its payment service, Osaifu-Keitai. These new smartphones will act as portals to free Disney content, including live wallpapers, puzzles, movies and games. Few other details are available for Disney’s new devices, but they’ll hit stores Feb. 17, hopefully with better names in tow.