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Samsung Galaxy Note megaphone a sure thing for CES 2012

Signage at the Las Vegas Convention Center locks in a U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy Note at this year's CES. The question is, which carrier will start selling the Android phone with the monster 5.3-inch screen?

CES signage proclaims the Samsung Galaxy Note
CES signage proclaims the Samsung Galaxy Note...mostly. Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Big phone or small tablet? That's the question we originally asked of the Samsung Galaxy Note when we first beheld it last September. If you believe the signage festooning the entrance to the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Samsung isn't quite sure, either.

Even if a strip missing from the giant poster leaves a gap in the name of the Android device, it's clear from the branding of the phone/tablet hybrid, and from the hardware design itself, that this is none other than the fabled device introduced in Europe earlier this year. Rumor has it that the U.S. version of the Note will be one of the handsets to beef upAT&T's 4G LTE network, and based on the phone's European beginnings, it makes good sense that it'll come to the largest of the country's two GSM carriers.

The smartphone boasts a 5.3-inch screen, a hulk among jumbo phones. That's the form factor that fell flat when Dell tried it on for size on the Streak, so it'll be interesting if it sparks more promise in the thin, light shape used to craft the Galaxy line.

Turning to its particulars, the Note also has a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, a Super AMOLED screen with WXGA (1,280x768-pixel resolution), and an 8-megapixel main camera that records 1080p HD video. There's also a 2-megapixel front-facing camera on the front.

Although it debuted in Europe with Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, it's more likely that we'll see the U.S. version outfitted with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich when the handset's officially announced. Oh yeah, and another thing. It also packs along a stylus dubbed the S Pen.

Samsung called the Galaxy Note "a new category of product" when it first revealed the device. "It combines core on-the-go benefits of various mobile devices while maintaining smartphone portability to create a whole new user experience." Portability? Maybe for a tablet, but for a phone, I'm not so sure. We'll keep you posted when we learn more. In the meantime, follow all of CNET's CES coverage.