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Thursday September 1, 2011 4:39 pm

Samsung Galaxy Note 5-inch smartphone, 7.7-Inch Galaxy Tab announced

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Smartphones, Google, Handhelds

Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung expanded its Galaxy family with the announcement of a 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet, and the Galaxy Note, a smartphone that blurs the tablet-phone line with its sprawling 5-inch screen and bundled stylus for quick memo-taking, or what Samsung terms "free-idea capturing." The Galaxy Note combines a Galaxy Tab tablet with a Galaxy S smartphone and adds the benefits of pen and paper, the company said in a briefing here at IFA.

Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the 6.8-ounce Galaxy Note is .37-inch thick and packs an unspecified dual-core 1.4GHz processor, an 8-megapixel back camera that captures HD video, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2500-mAH battery. Battery life was not disclosed.

But the most notable aspect of the Galaxy Note—which, again, is a slab-style smartphone, with an earpiece and a microphone, not a tablet—is its big 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED 1,280-by-800 (285ppi) WXGA display. Five inches, Samsung believes, is the perfect size to allow for 24/7 portability and single-handed operation, but still offer a large-enough display that eliminates the need to carry a tablet in addition to your phone. Consumers want to carry a single device when they're on the go, the company said.

I got some brief hands-on time with the Galaxy Note, and I did find it small and comfortable enough to use with a single hand. On the other hand, though, while most people probably agree that eliminating multiple mobile devices is preferable, it's tough to picture the masses walking the streets chatting away with gargantuan 5-inch screens pressed against their cheeks. The too-small-for-tablet, but too-big-for-phone screen size could be a tough sell for Samsung. Just last month, Dell killed its 5-inch Streak tablet.

The Galaxy Note also acts more like a tablet than a phone. In addition to multitouch pinch-to-zoom finger-based input, the aforementioned stylus, dubbed the 'S Pen' tucks into the bottom panel of the phone, and can be used in a variety of apps. In the Messaging App, for example, you can write on the screen, and the Galaxy Note will convert your scrawls to email or SMS messages with the aid of predictive text. In the browser, you use the pen to annotate, then capture Web pages with your notes. Input with the pen was very responsive, and as long as I wrote neatly, text conversion worked well. Besides integration with the native apps, Samsung plans to release an SDK for the S Pen so developers can write third-party apps that use it for input.

Pricing and carriers were not announced, though LTE and HSPA+ versions of the phone are expected, so multiple global carriers are likely.

In an effort to represent the gamut of mobile screen sizes, Samsung also introduced a little brother to the Tab 10.1. The thinner-even-more-portable Galaxy Tab 7.7 is just .31-inch thick (opposed to the 10.1's .33-inch thickness) and weighs 11.81 ounces (versus 19 ounces) making it the thinnest 7-inch tablet currently available. The tablet packs the same dual-core 1.4GHz CPU and 1,280-by-800–pixel WXGA Super AMOLED Plus display (7.7 inches) as the Galaxy Note, but runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb with the signature Samsung TouchWiz overlay. You get 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity, A-GPS with Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation, a 3-megapixel rear camera with HD video capture, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat. The 5,100-mAh battery is rated for 10 hours of video playback.

Neither pricing nor carriers for the Galaxy Tab 7.7 have been announced, but the tablet will come in 16, 32, or 64GB capacities, each with an SD slot, and a version will support HSPA+ connectivity.

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