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Samsung’s Android tablet/smartphone hybrid will debut in mid-February

Jan 31, 2012 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

AT&T says it will begin pre-sales of Samsung's Galaxy Note mini-tablet/smartphone on Feb. 17 for $300 plus contract. To be hyped during the Super Bowl via video shot on its own eight megapixel camera, the Android 2.3-based gadget features a 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display, a 1.5GHz, dual-core processor, and a stylus.

AT&T will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Note Feb. 19 for $300 with a two-year contract. Impatient folks — or anyone wanting assurance they'll get their hands on one — will be able to pre-order Feb. 5, with delivery by Feb. 17.

The Galaxy Note (pictured) was announced back in September, and a few more details surfaced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January (see photos below). With its 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display and HD (1280 x 800-pixel) resolution, the Galaxy Note straddles the fence between smartphone and tablet, providing basically all the features consumers expect from both devices. Plus a little more.

"Phone? Tablet? It's Galaxy Note!" Samsung enthuses on its site. Perhaps Samsung's gangbusters success as the number-one smartphone maker in 2011 has led it to believe it can do no wrong. Such fence-straddling business was a downfall of the Dell Streak, an early tablet with a five-inch display that analysts complained had "terrible" pocketability. (The device was a somewhat inconvenient smartphone, with a screen too small to offer quite the full appeal of a tablet.)

The Galaxy Note is, however, thinner than the Streak. Pictured at left in an eWEEK shot from CES, the device measures 9.65mm (0.38 inches) thick, just up from the iPhone 4's 9.3mm.

"I think people are going to give 5.3 inches another look, now that their minds have been opened to the idea of tablets," Roger Kay, principal analyst with Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK. "This size offers a different sort of compromise. It's closer to a phone. It will fit in many pockets, one the best measures of phone-type portability, but it's got a bigger screen than most phones. Maybe this is the right moment."

Samsung obviously thinks so, since it announced Jan 31 that it will provide the device via its first-ever Super Bowl commercial. Directed by Bobby Farrelly, who created comedy films including "There's Something About Mary" and "Dumb and Dumber," the spot will incorporate footage shot by the Galaxy Note itself, the company says.

A different processor for the U.S.

Available in Carbon Blue or Ceramic White, the Galaxy Note runs Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread"), but is expected to be on course for an upgrade to Android 4.0.

The device was announced as having a dual-core, 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos processor, which appears to be the processor in the European version of the Galaxy Note. However, AT&T has swapped it out for a 1.5GHz, dual-core processor, which — according to a story in GSM Arena, among many other sources — is a Qualcomm MSM8660 Snapdragon.

The Galaxy Note comes with 16GB of internal memory, plus a microSD slot, says Samsung. The device will be able to hop on AT&T's HSPA+, LTE, and WiFi networks, and features an eight-megapixel camera with a slew of features, such as blink detection, white balancing, and GPS tagging. There's also a front-facing two-megapixel camera for video calls.

Samsung officials said the device includes a 2500mAh battery, but did not list battery life. Some testing by GSM Arena, however, found nearly 13 hours of 3G talk time, three hours and 35 minutes of web browsing and eight hours and 25 minutes of video playback. Not shabby.

With the bundled stylus, called the S Pen (pictured at left), users can not only draw and take notes, but do things like hand-write an email. The S Memo application works with the S Pen to enable users to "capture" pictures, voice recordings, typed text, handwritten notes, drawings, and other user-created content. S Memo then combines the content into a single application and converts it into a memo that can be shared.

Other software includes Sybase Afaria's mobile device management software, which adds enterprise-friendly security features. There's also Microsoft Exchange Active Sync, Cisco Systems' WebEx conferencing software, and a VPN solution on board. An "S Planner" app, meanwhile, is sort of a smarter take on calendar-meets-scheduling, according to Samsung.

AT&T will also be happy to sell you a Desktop Dock for the device, as well as a spare battery charging system, a Holder Kit for the S Pen, and a Flip Cover case in tan, black, pink, red, white or blue, among other accessories.

Video demo of Samsung Galaxy Note
Source: Samsung
(Click to play)


AT&T will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Note Feb. 19 for $300 with a two-year contract. More information may be found on AT&T's Galaxy Note notification sign-up page and this Samsung Galaxy Note product page.

Michelle Maisto is a writer for eWEEK.

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