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Until a few days ago we’d heard surprisingly little about the Galaxy Note, a handset rumored to be launching alongside the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Wave 3 at IFA. It’s ironic, really, because of all the phones to have kept a low profile, this is a memorable one. Behold, a 5.3-inch handset with a stowaway pen for note-taking, drawing and grabbing screen captures. In other words, a Dell Streak-esque hunk of a device that blurs the lines between phone and tablet. You’re looking at a Gingerbread-running LTE and HSPA+ handset with a 1280 x 800 Super AMOLED display, dual 8MP and 2MP cameras, a removable 2,500mAh battery and the same Samsung-made dual-core 1.4GHz processor you’ll find in the just-announced Galaxy Tab 7.7. For a phone this gargantuan, it’s actually quite thin at light, at 9.65mm (0.38 inches) thick and a reasonable 178 grams (6.3 ounces). We had a few minutes to handle the phone in advance of today’s press conference, and found it surprisingly easy to grip, even in our small hands. As with the Infuse 4G -whose own 4.5-inch screen once seemed impossibly sprawling – the thin shape makes it tenable, as does the lightweight, textured plastic lining the back.

As you’d expect, Android 2.3 comes layered with TouchWiz on top and, in this case, seven home screens and a touch-optimized interface dubbed “S Pen” designed to take advantage of that pen. These include S Planner, a native calendar and to-do list app, from which you can drag and drop appointments, changing time slots without having to open an entry. S Memo for note-taking, meanwhile, accepts voice, photo, text and handwritten input. We also got a quick glimpse of Virtual Whiteboard, a more collaborative form of note-taking. On top of that, Samsung says it’s releasing the S Pen SDK to third-party developers, and the company’s banking on more apps for organizing photos and drawing, among other things. For now, this is merely a global launch: Samsung says it’s still in discussions with carriers worldwide, so depending on your neck of the woods it might be awhile before you hear anything definitive about pricing or availability. Find the some fancy press shots (and a promo vid) after the break, and stay tuned for our hands-on.

Music-centric Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is heading to Three UK. The carrier will release it soon, though we don’t have any other detail except “September.” In any case, the Android smartphone will most likely move from Three’s Coming Soon page to the regular catalog at some point next week. And if you’re too eager to get it, feel free to register for updates at the carrier’s website.

As for the price, that “tiny detail” isn’t specified, but we’re pretty sure the Sony Ericsson Live will be available for free to everyone willing to commit on a two-year 25 GBP per month contract.

As a reminder, this little fella’ comes with a 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera on the back, VGA front-facing camera, HSDPA and Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS and a memory card slot…

BlackBerry

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has denied he would exit the smartphone business if it remains unprofitable for the Canadian company. His new statements come less than a day after being quoted by Reuters, which he now says took his words out of context. Here’s how the original article reads: “BlackBerry Ltd would consider exiting its handset business if it remains unprofitable, its chief executive said on Wednesday, as the company looks to expand its corporate reach with investments, acquisitions and partnerships. “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business,” John Chen said in an interview, adding that the time frame for such a decision was short. He would not be more specific.” Well, Chen is now being more specific: “I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon.? I know you still love your BlackBerry devices.”

Read the full story at The Next Web.

Google’s Motorola unit on Monday sent out a “save the date” announcement, tipping Nov. 13 as the launch date for its rumored low-cost Moto G phone.

Moto G globe-feature

The invite, as is typical, didn’t say much. But it depicted a lush-looking globe, perhaps an indication that the company has global ambitions for this phone, as contrasted with its Moto X phone, which was aimed at regaining share in North America.

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside indicated during his D11 appearance that the company was interested in bringing out lower-cost devices as part of its efforts, a point he reiterated in an August interview.

“Without giving too much away, one area that I talked about at D was this massive market for devices that are super high-quality, but also reasonably priced,” Woodside told AllThingsD at the time of the Moto X launch.

As part of its quarterly earnings last month, Google said its Motorola unit had $1.18 billion in revenue, down from $1.78 billion a year earlier.

Moto G invite

BlackBerry is giving up its effort to sell itself to a large investor, and will replace CEO Thorsten Heins, the company said on Monday.

The company said that, rather than bid for it, Fairfax Financial will lead a group of investors pouring $1 billion into the troubled handset maker, with Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa becoming lead director. Former Sybase CEO John Chen will serve as interim CEO and executive chairman once the investment is completed, which BlackBerry said should be within the next two weeks.

blackberry9720380

The investment will come in the form of a debt sale, BlackBerry said, with Fairfax itself putting $250 million into the company.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” current BlackBerry chair Barbara Stymiest said in a statement. “The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.”

Monday was the deadline that the company had set for investor Fairfax Financial to put in a formal bid for the company. In September, BlackBerry had announced a deal to sell itself to Fairfax for $4.7 billion, however the deal was nonbinding and contingent on the investment company lining up capital to finance the bid. BlackBerry had also been seeking other buyers.

The announcement marks the end of the company’s strategic review, BlackBerry said. However, it leaves the company’s future as uncertain as ever; confidence in BlackBerry from investors and customers has been waning, despite reassurances from the company that it and its products are here to stay.

In addition to ceding the CEO post, Heins will step down from the board of directors, as will director David Kerr.

The move was reported earlier Monday by Canada’s Globe and Mail, citing sources.

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