Conflicting CPU rumors
Earlier this month, our own Derek De La Cruz wrote that the Galaxy Note successor could feature a dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 Exynos 5250 CPU, which could be clocked at 1.7Ghz or 2.0Ghz. However, the MK Business News article has the CPU pegged as a quad-core. If this is the case, it will likely be the ARM Cortex-A9 Exynos 4412 with a Mali 400 GPU as seen in the international version of the Galaxy S III.
Some respected news sites seem to indicate that there will be a quad-core variant of the Exynos 5250, but Samsung’s official Exynos news portal clearly states that the 5250 is a dual-core processor, and no quad-core Exynos 5 series processors have even been officially announced. Of course, rumors abound that the quad-core Exynos 5450 coming in the future, but that chip isn’t expected to begin production until 2013.
Personally, I hope that the Galaxy Note 2 does feature the dual-core Exynos 5250 rather than the quad-core Exynos 4412. For one thing, it is well known that the 4412 does not support LTE networks (Korea Telecom, with its somewhat unique 1800 Mhz LTE band, will apparently be the only carrier in the world to feature an LTE-enabled Galaxy S III with the Exynos 4412, but it evidently requires a thicker chassis to accommodate a third-party LTE chip). According to UbuntuLife, the Galaxy Note 2 could support LTE even in international markets with the Exynos 5250.
For another thing, as stated above, the Exynos 5250 is based on the ARM Cortex-A15 architecture, and is accompanied by a next-generation Mali T-604 GPU. Samsung allegedly decided to go with the quad-core 4412 in its international variant of the Galaxy S III because it would be a “better sell” than the equally powerful but more energy-efficient 5250.
I have serious misgivings about that particular allegation, because the North American versions of the Galaxy S III all got dual-core processors anyway. Moreover, the 5250 only went into production in the second quarter of 2012, making it practically impossible to include in the Galaxy S III. The lone credible aspect of that rumor, however, is that the dual-core 5250 would have performed at least as well as the quad-core 4412, but with longer battery life.
The Exynos 5250, as pictured on Samsung's official Exynos news portal
Consistent display rumors
While reports about the CPU to be featured in the Galaxy Note 2 are conflicting, speculation around the display is rather consistent, the general consensus being that the display will be an Unbreakable Plane Display with SAMOLED HD and a 1680x1050 pixel resolution. One reason for the consistency among display material rumors is that they’re based on a common source: the MK Business News report mentioned previously.
The Unbreakable Plane (UBP) Display is a precursor to the flexible SAMOLED display showcased on YouTube last December (ironically, Samsung calls it the “Youm” - the Verge also did an excellent writeup on the display). The UBP display is thinner than existing displays, which will provide more room for internals while keeping a thinner chassis. While the aforementioned Youm flexible display is certainly drool-worthy, the MK Business News report specifically stated that the UBP display is a precursor to it - but at least it’s coming closer to being reality.
The Youm flexible display showcased by Samsung on YouTube, December 2011
Before you break out the pitchforks and torches about Samsung still using the Pentile-based SAMOLED HD display, Samsung claims to have a good reason for keeping it. According to Samsung, it is more durable and power-efficient than SAMOLED Plus. Furthermore, the consensus seems to be that the display will be 5.5 inches, which means 360 ppi density at WSXGA 1680x1050 resolution (by comparison, the “Retina” display on the new iPad is 264 ppi). The human eye can’t perceive individual pixels above a density of 300 ppi, so you won’t even be able to tell that it’s a Pentile display.
Spilling the Jelly Beans (other specs)
The Galaxy Note 2 is also rumored to have improved battery life, a 12 megapixel camera (of course, we’ve heard that one before), 1.5GB of RAM (though I personally suspect that will change to 2GB based on Samsung putting 2GB in the U.S. versions of the Galaxy S III). Software features should include Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and notable Galaxy S III features including S Beam, S Voice, Near Field Communication (NFC), and Smart Stay. The combination of the power-efficient Exynos 5250 and the thinner UBP display would conceivably allow for a larger battery without compromising the phone’s thin design.
A comparison between Galaxy Note 2 concept image (on the left) and the original Galaxy Note, posted by GSM Arena, demonstrates how the Note 2 could have a larger screen and still be a less bulky device overall