The new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet isn’t an iPad, and that’s the point.
Samsung has designed the Galaxy Note 10.1 to be not just a device for Web surfing, email reading and other forms of what it calls “consumption,” but as a creative device which, according to Samsung, will change the way users learn, draw, share and otherwise interact with their mobile electronic companions.
At $499 for a unit with 16GB of storage and $549 for a 32GB version, Samsung has the difficult task of convincing the public why they should spend 500-or-so dollars on a Galaxy Note 10.1 instead of an Apple iPad. The answer, according to Samsung representatives at a splashy Aug. 15 launch event in New York, is the S Pen.
The S Pen, which stores neatly in a slot in the back of the Galaxy Note 10.1, can detect more than a thousand levels of pen pressure when combined with the specially designed screen on the tablet. This means that you can draw on the screen as if you had a real pen or brush: A light pressure for a thin pen line or feathery brush stroke or more pressure for a thick line or a heavy coat of virtual paint.
“Make no mistake…this is not a [run-of-the-mill] stylus,” said Travis Merrill, director of marketing for Samsung Electronics America’s Galaxy tablet division. He noted that unlike other tablets which can only detect whether a stylus has made contact with its screen or not, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 can, via electromagnetic resonance, detect the S Pen as it approaches the screen. All necessary power is generated by the tablet–no battery power is needed for the S Pen, he noted.
The combination of the pressure-sensitive screen and high-resolution digitizer built into the Galaxy Note 10.1 means that tasks like painting, document annotation and handwriting recognition are enhanced, he said.
“For the first time, freehand writing on a tablet makes sense,” said Merrill.
During the press conference, award-winning film director Baz Luhrmann said that after a few days with the Galaxy Note 10.1, he found it easy to share and edit storyboards and other information vital to his upcoming movies.
“This is a creative tool… That’s the game changer for me,” said Luhrmann.
The Galaxy Note’s 10.1-inch, 1,280-by-800-pixel display is driven by a quad-core, 1.4GHz processor, the most powerful to date in Samsung’s Android tablet lineup. The unit comes with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), the latest version of Google’s operating system software for mobile devices. An upgrade to the next Android version (Jelly Bean) will be available later this year, according to Samsung.
The tablet is preloaded with Adobe Photoshop Touch, the Barnes & Noble Nook ebook app, the Kno textbook and learning app and a handful of other productivity and entertainment titles. The tablet had a Multiscreen feature which allows users to run two from a select list of apps at the same time on the same screen. For example, you can have an email app and a Web browser window open at the same time.
Unlike the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has a microSD card slot for additional storage on removable memory cards and an infrared port, a feature once prevalent on cell phones and PDAs. The infrared port allows the Galaxy Note 10.1 to be used as an intelligent remote control for your current TV and audio equipment.
Preinstalled on the tablet is the Peel Smart Remote & TV Listing app, which aids in the process of configuring the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet to work with your electronic gear and provide access to various TV programming guides.
So, will the Galaxy Note 10.1 make a dent in the iPad’s slice of the tablet market? Let the battle begin…and let me know what you think.
Image of Galaxy Note 10.1 with S Pen courtesy of Samsung.
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