updated 08:25 am EDT, Thu September 1, 2011
Samsung Galaxy Note has 5.3in HD Super AMOLED
Samsung's most unique launch at IFA on Thursday was the Galaxy Note, an attempt to blur the lines between phones and tablets. Its centerpiece is a 5.3-inch, 1280x800 Super AMOLED screen that's both extremely crisp but also optionally takes pen input. Called the S Pen, the bundled stylus can be used to draw, handwrite notes, or to annotate screen captures.
The size is purportedly much better for photos and videos as well as browsing the web with a minimum of scrolling or pivoting. It's still small enough to work as a smartphone and carries voice along with its 21Mbps 3G data or faster with LTE.
Samsung uses Android 2.3 for software but bundles a handful of apps to reflect the notepad-like role. S Memo mixes handwritten and typed notes as well as photos and voice memos. S Planner takes advantage of the larger screen for calendaring.
Inside, the Galaxy Note is as fast as the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and has the same dual-core 1.4GHz chip. It uses the same eight-megapixel front and two-megapixel back cameras as the Galaxy S II and, accordingly, can both record and play 1080p video. Storage is much lower at 2GB inside with the microSDHC slot needed to get more.
The crossover device doesn't have a specific release window but will likely be ready before the end of the year. Carrier deals are still in progress, Samsung said.
The Galaxy Note is a gamble for Samsung. Dell tried the same category before with the five-inch original Streak but never got more than a small piece of the market at best. The Streak may have been hurt by Dell's mismanaged launch, where it teased the phone-tablet blend seven months before it shipped but left it with an outdated version of Android. Samsung's larger stature as well as its much more up-to-date hardware may help, although it faces a challenge in trying to appeal to both smartphone and tablet adopters in equal measure.