The Galaxy Note has been an unlikely success. What was once chastised for being an oversized phone or an undersized tablet has defined a whole new category of devices. The sales figures tell the story: with 10 million units sold so far, there’s clearly a big market for a device with such a large display. But the original Note was a bit flawed. While it was a powerful device with great hardware, the software had tremendous shortcomings. The S-Pen integration with the phablet wasn’t exactly natural, accurate, or useful. Even if you were willing to stay within the confines of homescreen widgets and screenshots that you could draw on, the Note, for many, was merely a big phone…with a pen.

But the Galaxy Note II might change that. Not only is it more powerful thanks to its high-clocked quad-core Exynos CPU and 2GB of RAM, but it’s more useful thanks to better software. It’ll ship with Jelly Bean, granting it the buttery smoothness that only Android 4.1 can provide. And then it’ll have a host of great software additions that will make using the S-Pen a neccessity and not just a novelty.

The hardware, reminiscent of the Galaxy S III, is also improved, thanks to a screen that is in a 16:9 aspect ratio (and 0.2″ bigger), allowing the device to be less wide, but unfortunately, more tall. The Note II is a little bit thinner than the original Note, which is surprising considering the 3,100mAh battery that is included.

For example, Samsung has greatly expanded the places where the S-Pen can write. You can write into an email, onto a photo, and right onto your calendar. Not only that, but you can have a note “hover” above any current application for easy reference. The S-Pen can also help you multitask quicker with a a new quick-actions launcher that might actually make you more productive.

The Galaxy Note II is sure to see the success of the original Galaxy Note. What do you think?

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