Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Electronics, which is fast closing in on Apple as the No. 1 smartphone maker, announced Monday its Galaxy Note S Pen for customers with accounts with AT&T. The new smartphone features a stylus, which executives said could be used for more than notes.

The South Korean-made phone has a 5.3-inch screen and a super AMOLED display, which Samsung said was among the largest it has offered.

Samsung introduced the new phone at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, during a press conference mobbed by more than 3,000 reporters.

The S Pen uses new software intended to allow users to make notes with a stylus for messages, calendar entries and other items that would be included on a smartphone.

The Galaxy Note S is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, with a 2MP front-facing camera and an 8 MP rear-facing camera and 16 GB of onboard memory. It deploys Google's 2.3 Gingerbread Android OS.

Few smartphones on the market now use a stylus. Nearly 20 years ago, Apple came out with its first handheld, the Newton Personal Assistant, which was intended to be a personal memo screen that recorded handwriting. About the same time, Tandy, now renamed Radio Shack, unveiled the Zoomer, which also featured a stylus.

The lives of both products were both short.

Samsung executives said prices and availability with AT&T will be available during the first half of 2012.