With the Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung has stepped firmly into tablet territory. It announced its latest offering today in New York. Like the Galaxy Note, Samsung's smartphone-tablet hybrid, this newest product includes a stylus, or what Samsung refers to as the "S Pen." The original Galaxy Note was known for its unconventional dimensions, which struck some people as a too-big smartphone and others as a too-small tablet.
Now Samsung has decided to go the larger route again. Indeed, aside from the dedicated slot used to store the S Pen, the Galaxy Note 10.1 looks virtually identical to Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.
The tablet measures 10.3 x 7.1 inches, with a 10.1-inch display and resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It's available with either 16 or 32 GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot to add up to 64 GB more. The processor is Samsung's most powerful for a tablet, a 1.4 GHz quad core.
At 1.32 lbs., the Galaxy Note 10.1 is lighter than Apple's iPad. The device will run Android's 4.0 operating system ("Ice Cream Sandwich"), which Samsung says will be upgraded to version 4.1 ("Jelly Bean") later this year. Models sold in the U.S. will connect to the Internet by Wi-Fi.
Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Galaxy Note 10.1 offers AllShare Play, a feature that allows users to sling content from the tablet to Samsung HD TVs, tablets, laptops, and other devices on the same network. A built-in infrared blaster allows the tablet to be used as a universal remote control too, a feature that is also offered on the Galaxy Tab 2.
So what's different? With the Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung is banking on consumers who favor having a stylus as a digital extension of real pen and paper. "History has shown that taking notes, capturing ideas immediately, and sketching to realize them is the most personal and natural way to be more productive and creative," said J.K Shin, president of Samsung's IT & Mobile Communications Division.
To that end, the Galaxy Note 10.1 comes pre-loaded with applications that take advantage of its S Pen, like S Note, a combo note-taking and sketching application. Another app, Adobe's Photoshop Touch, allows users to edit photos and images using the stylus.
And as in real life, where ideas can suddenly come from what's happening in front of your eyes, the Galaxy Note 10.1's multi-screen feature allows users to see two different applications side-by-side at the same time, just in case that online video inspires a quick sketch of your next big idea.
Samsung says the Galaxy Note 10.1 will be available nationwide starting Thursday, and will retail for $499 with 16 GB of memory, $549 for 32 GB.