Samsung reveals Android-based notepad, updates tablet

Samsung's Note device allows users to write on its screen with a digital pen

Samsung is expanding its Galaxy family of Android-based devices with the Note, which allows users write directly on the device's screen with a digital pen. The company also introduced the Galaxy Tab 7.7, which comes with a Super AMOLED Plus display, at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin on Thursday.

The South Korean company has made a habit of making big product announcements at the largest trade shows, and this year was no different.

The Galaxy Note has a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, and can be used a smartphone or a "smart notepad," according to Samsung. The company said it did a survey that showed consumers want to write directly on the screen.

"Today, we are opening a new category in the mobile industry. From this time on we have three categories: tablets, smartphones and the Note in between," said DJ Lee, head of global sales and marketing at Samsung Mobile.

With the digital S pen, users can also underline text in documents or electronic books. Samsung sees users editing image and videos, making quick notes and updating their calendars with the pen and not the keyboard.

Broadening the appeal of the pen, Samsung plans to release an SDK (Software Development Kit) allowing developers to create new applications and services incorporating the pen functionality.

The product will be available with LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and HSPA+ (High-Speed Packet Access) for fast network access. Support for NFC (Near Field Communications) is available as an option.

The company isn't the first to equip an Android-based device with this feature. HTC's Flyer also comes with a digital pen.

At last year's IFA, Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab, which will now be replaced with the Galaxy Tab 7.7. The new version is the first tablet to come with Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus display technology. And just like the name signals, it measures 7.7-inches.

The tablet's thickness is 7.89 millimeters and it weighs 335 grams, compared to 12 millimeters and 385 grams for its predecessor.

The 5,100 mAh battery provides up to 10 hours of video playback time, according to Samsung. Also, the tablet can still be used as a phone, it said.

The Note and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 are both powered by a dual-core 1.4GHz processor. The Note uses Android 2.3, while the new tablet uses Android 3.2.

The Galaxy Note will start shipping in November, and cost about 5,200 Swedish kronor (US$820) without taxes and subsidies, according to Samsung in Sweden. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 will start shipping around the end of the year and cost approximately 4,800 Swedish kronor without taxes and subsidies.

At IFA, Samsung is also showing three new smartphones based on its own operating system Bada and well as new LTE-versions of the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Tab 8.9.

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