Five months after its first announcement at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February this year, Samsung has finally launched the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. Although the name reminds one of the original Note (which was launched in November last year), it is not a conventional Phablet (phone+tablet) like its predecessor.
As the name suggests, the tablet has a 10.1 inch screen (making it near-impossible to use it as a phone) and runs on the Android ICS operating system. Also, considering the fact that the original Note has turned out to be a rather successful product, we feel that the company is looking to leverage the name to rope in potential customers. So don't be too surprised if another Note pops up (and this time a proper Phablet) in the coming months.
This tablet will be first available in Korea, Germany, the US and the UK. It will be then gradually rolled out in other global markets (starting in August), and India could be one of them since Samsung launched Galaxy S III in the country within a month of its unveiling. Although an exact India launch date and pricing are not available as of now, considering its specifications and also the fact that it will directly compete with the New iPad, the price should be in the range of Rs 30,000-Rs 45,000 for all versions (from 16 GB Wi-Fi only to 64 GB Wi-Fi+3G). Samsung is offering both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi+3G versions of the tablet, and a WiFi+4G version will be added later this year.
Here's a quick look at its specifications.
The device comes with a 10.1 inch LCD touchscreen display (1280Ã—800 pixel resolution) and runs on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system (with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface). Just like the original Note, the company has also provided an S-Pen (an advanced stylus) with this device.
It is powered by a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor and has 2 GB of RAM (so expect everything is practically a breeze). Users can choose 16, 32 and 64 GB of internal memory that can be expanded to an additional 64 GB with the help of a microSD card.
The new device also features a 5 mega pixel auto-focus rear camera with LED flash that can record full high definition videos (1080p) at 30 frames per second and a 1.9 MP front-facing camera for video calling. On the connectivity front, the device comes with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (with Wi-Fi Direct) and 3G. Plus, it has a microUSB port and a microSD card slot.
The device measures 262mm x 180mm x 8.9mm and weighs 597 gm for the Wi-Fi only version (which means the Wi-Fi+3G version will be slightly heavier). It has a 7,500mAh battery that should provide decent battery life. It also comes with a suite of Google apps and has A-GPS (in the 3G version).
Samsung has also added a number of other features to the tablet to sweeten the deal. These include:
Multiscreen feature: Users can work on two different applications side by side, and multitasking becomes much more convenient. For instance, you can view web pages or videos, or launch other apps while writing or sketching with the S-Pen on the other half of the screen.
S-Pen: The 6.5 mm stylus is connected to the tablet and when removed, it automatically launches apps like S Note, S Planner, crayon physics and Polaris Office. Alternatively, users can also set their preferred app to be launched when the stylus is removed. Double-tapping on the screen while pressing the S-Pen button also provides quick S Note access via the S Note-dedicated widget.
The tablet also comes pre-loaded with the Adobe Photoshop Touch app that enables users to professionally edit photos with the S-Pen.
Samsung's Learning Hub: Users to access multimedia educational content including e-textbooks, video lectures, interactive coaching, etc., via the Learning Hub. It also features a learning management system that provides schedule and performance management tools. Although the Learning Hub is currently available only in Korea, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, China and Singapore, the company claims that it will be downloadable via Samsung Apps in more than 20 countries by the end of 2012.
Smart Stay and Pop Up Play: While Smart Stay tracks the user's eyes to ensure that the screen is always on as long as he/she looks at it, Pop Up Play allows the user to watch videos anywhere on the screen while running other tasks.
Other features include AllShare Play (allows users to share content with Samsung HD TV, mobile, tablet, laptop and other consumer electronic devices on the same network) and ChatON, the company's mobile communications service.
Of course, its biggest competitor will be Apple's new iPad offering, priced between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000. Other contenders include Motorola Xoom (Rs 33,875 for 32GB Wi-Fi+3G), Lenovo Tablet K1 (Rs 32,899 for 32 GB Wi-Fi+3G), Sony SGPT113IN/S (Rs 29,990 for 16 GB Wi-Fi+3G) and the company's own Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Rs 33,999 for 16 GB Wi-Fi+3G), among others.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)