Samsung Galaxy Note

As Android tablet after Android tablet has hit the market over the past year I’ve often find myself wondering why anyone would need an Android phone and an Android tablet when they fill such similar functions. Samsung has released a new device that seems custom made for people wondering the same thing.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is a new Android device with a 5.3 inch display. It seems big for a phone, but not that big. After all, phones with 4.3 and 4.5 inch displays are starting to seem normal. And it seems small for a tablet, but not that small. After all, Samsung and other manufacturers have been putting out 7 inch devices for years.

But here’s the thing: despite the small display, the Samsung Galaxy Note has the same screen resolution as the Galaxy Tab 7.7 or Galaxy Tab 10.1. The pixels are just packed more densely, which means that 1280 x 800 pixel Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note has a 285ppi screen that will probably be one of the most impressive screens available on handheld Android device.

There’s another thing that sets this device apart from the crowded field of Android tablets and smartphones though. It has a digitizer and stylus, allowing you to take handwritten notes, draw pictures, and perform special gestures such as double-tapping to take a screenshot.

Samsung includes a Memo app which you can use to draw or write notes (or type, snap a photo or record voice notes). The company also plans to launch an SDK to let third party developers create apps that make use of the stylus.

Android doesn’t include support for a stylus/digital pen out of the box, but Samsung isn’t alone in creating a tablet that’s meant to be used with one. The HTC Flyer 7 inch Android tablet also offers an optional digital pen and custom software designed to work with the pen. But at this point I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense for developers to write apps that can only work on the HTC Flyer or only on the Galaxy Note. It would be nice if there was a single SDK that could support all devices with digitizers and pens.

The Samsung Galaxy Note has a 1.4 GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, and runs Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It has an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 2MP front camera. The device has a 2500mAh battery and measures less than 0.4 inches thick, and weighs just about 6 ounces.

The Galaxy Note runs Samsung’s TouchWiz software on top of Android, and has a special pen-friendly user interface called S Pen.

There’s no word on how much the Galaxy Note will cost or what carriers will offer the device, but it will come in LTE and HSPA+ versions.

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5 replies on “Samsung Galaxy Note: 5.3 inch Android device blurs the phone/tablet borders”

  1. This looks nice.  I think it’s great that you can now get an Android device in almost every size possible.  I’m not sure I like this size.  It seems too big for a phone and after using a 10.1″ tablet seems too small to do the same things comfortably despite having the same resolution.

  2. Whaah!
    Steve Jobs said that if it has a stylus “they messed up”!
    Steve Jobs said 9.7″ is the only size tablets can be!

    I’m so f&*king happy Samsung isn’t listening to that git!

  3. I think the 5-7″ size is perfect for any “tablet” that is a mobile accessory…that is, it isn’t powerful enough to replace at least a netbook.  I could get serious use out of a pen-equipped device like this.

    1. To replace post-its?

      Pull out your phone, the screen is about 1″ bigger diagonally.  All that resolution is just to make the image sharper.  I’d be hard pressed to jot more than a short note to myself on that space, let alone take notes in a meeting, or sketch out anything more than a simple DB Diagram…  Rewriting War and Peace from memory as my boss drones on and on and on during weekly status meetings is also probably out for the same reasons…

      All kidding aside.  No out of the box handwriting recognition is a bad sign, especially on a specialty product which is unlikely to draw developer attention outside of the manufacturer’s SEs and a few hobbiests.

      If there was a standard pen sdk in Android I’d be hopeful that it would happen eventually, but there isn’t, and each product so far seems to have it’s own competing infrastructure.

      Thus, at least on the surface, support and enhancement for the features of both devices (the flyer and this) seem inherently weak.  Given that, I couldn’t see buying one with my cash.  Maybe I can talk my work into buying me one to help facilitate drawing flip books  to keep up morale during those weekly staff meetings.

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