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Samsung unveils small tablet, giant smartphone

Sep 1, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Samsung Electronics unveiled a 7.7-inch, Android 3.2 version of its Galaxy Tab tablet, as well as a 5.3-inch Android 2.3 phone, each running on a dual-core 1.4GHz processor. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the first tablet to offer Super AMOLED Plus technology, while the pen-enabled Galaxy Note smartphone settles for Super AMOLED, and both feature 1280 x 800 WXGA resolution.

At the IFA show in Berlin Sept. 1, Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet, which, as its name implies, has an unusual 7.7-inch screen size. The company also introduced a Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone with a massive 5.3-inch display and a pen interface.

Both devices are powered by an unnamed 1.4GHz dual-core processor — presumably the same Samsung Exynos Cortex-A9 processor used in the best-selling Samsung Galaxy S II phone.

Galaxy Tab 7.7

Running the latest Android 3.2 ("Honeycomb") build, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the first tablet to use Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus display, says the company. The technology has helped draw users to the Galaxy S II smartphones in Korea, Japan, and Europe, where the smartphones were said to have totaled 5 million in sales in under three months. (Earlier this week, Samsung announced versions of the Galaxy S II for AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S.)

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the apparent heir to the best-selling, seven-inch Galaxy Tab. It measures only 0.31 inches (7.89mm) thick and weighs around three-quarters of a pound (335 grams), compared to 0.47 inches and 14 ounces for the original Galaxy Tab. The Tab 7.7 also beats out the thicker, heavier HTC Flyer and similar HTC Evo View 4G seven-inch Android tablets.

Different views of the Galaxy Tab 7.7

(Click to enlarge)

The Tab 7.7 will be available with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of flash storage, and includes a microSD slot that can accept up to 32GB more, says Samsung. The device runs on LTE and HSPA+ 21 (21Mbps downloads) network, and also offers 802.11a/b/g/n, says the company. The tablet is also said to support voice and video calls, as well as data communications, without requiring a Bluetooth headset.

The Super AMOLED Plus display offers the 1280 x 800 WXGA resolution typically found on 10.1-inch tablets such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (and on the recently released 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab 8.9). By comparison, the original seven-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab provides 1024 x 600 WSVGA resolution, which is still higher than that of most seven-inch tablets.

The Tab 7.7 offers full 1080p HD playback, says Samsung. Also available is a Universal Remote Control functionality, letting users control home entertainment devices including TVs, set-top boxes, DVD and Blu-ray players, and AV audio systems, says Samsung. This would appear to be an IR-based receiver, as found on Sony's new Android tablets.

The Tab 7.7 also offers a 5100mAh battery supporting up to 10 hours of video playback, says the company.

Android 3.2 is the first Android release to support screens as small as seven inches. It also offers a compatibility mode to let developers adapt apps written for Android's 2.x smartphones to fit nicely on larger screens, says Samsung.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 runs the improved, tablet-ready version of Samsung's TouchWiz user interface skin, which is proving popular on the Tab 10.1 and Tab 8.9 tablets. TouchWiz offers a Live Panel menu to let users add their own digital pictures to the home screen. There's also a "Mini Apps" tray of features including a task manager, calendar, and music.

Samsung Galaxy Note

At the IFA show, Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy Note. Running Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread"), the Galaxy Note features a monster 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display, said to be the largest such display found on a smartphone.

Galaxy Note

The Galaxy Note does not appear to offer the latest Super AMOLED Plus technology found on the Tab 7.7 tablet. However, its Super AMOLED display features a generous 1280 x 800 pixels — the same resolution found on the Tab 10.1, 8.9, and new 7.7 models.

The display offers deep blacks and bright colors, as well as a 180-degree viewing angle for shared, side-by-side viewing, says Samsung. The screen is large enough and sufficiently high resolution "to allow meaningful split-screen operation in the most frequently used native apps," says the company.

Galaxy Note with S Pen (upper left), plus other views

(Click to enlarge)

Powered by an unnamed 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, which as noted above, is probably the Samsung Exynos, the Galaxy Note will ship with 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, says Samsung. The phone is capable of running on HSPA+ and LTE networks, and offers 802.11a/b/g/n with Wi-Fi Direct, as well as Bluetooth 3.0, says the company. Other features are said to include an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera, a two-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2500mAh battery.

The Galaxy Note comes with an "S Pen," a digital pen that lets users take notes, and create sketches and other artwork. Users can convert pictures, voice recordings, typed text, handwritten notes or drawings to a memo format for editing and sharing, says the company. A screen capture function is also said to be available, as well as S Planner, a professional planning tool that integrates the to-do list and schedule.

The S Pen will be supported by an open-platform software development kit (SDK), says Samsung. The HTC Flyer and HTC Evo View 4G tablets offer similar functionality with their HTC Scribe pen, and HTC recently launched an HTC OpenSense SDK to support the pen.

It remains to be seen whether such a large smartphone will take off with users. The five-inch Dell Streak suffered in part due to consumer confusion about the device's true identity and purpose. On the plus side, the Galaxy Note is just 0.38 inches (9.65mm) thick. This is thinner than the Streak, not to mention most tablets and a fair share of smartphones.

Galaxy Note promotional video on YouTube
Source: Samsung
(Click to play)


No pricing or availability information was supplied for the Samsung Tab 7.7 or Galaxy Note. Samsung offers more information on the tablet at this Tab 7.7 page. A hands-on look at the Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the IFA show, including a video, is available on Engadget.

More information on the Galaxy Note may be found on Samsung's Galaxy Note page.

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