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Samsung debuts Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Note

Samsung has added a 7.7-inch model to its Galaxy Tab line, which now comes in five sizes, and unveiled the Galaxy Note, a stylus-equipped device somewhere between a phone and a tablet
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By Ben Woods, Senior reporter on
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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 launch

Samsung has added a 7.7-inch version to its Galaxy Tab range, alongside a new hybrid phone and tablet device, the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note.

The Korean manufacturer introduced the Android-based devices at the IFA trade show in Berlin on Thursday. The new model makes a total of five tablets in the Galaxy Tab line-up. By contrast, most rival manufacturers offer just one or two variants.

"It seems to me that Samsung is going back to a technique it used in mobile phones a few years ago, when it would bring devices to market more as a showcase than to exploit a real market opportunity," Carolina Milanesi, a mobile device analyst at Gartner, told ZDNet UK.

"[It's] almost like an intimidation technique against competitors, like the military parades some governments have to make sure the rest of the world is conscious of their power," she added.

Samsung is caught up in a legal battle with iPad-maker Apple, which has launched patent suits aimed at preventing the Galaxy Tab from being sold in Europe and Australia.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 front

In the 7.89mm-wide Galaxy Tab 7.7, the company has used a Super Amoled Plus display, a better screen than in its 7-inch version. This allows for a wider range of colours with greater separation between light and dark, creating more vivid images, according to Samsung.

"The Galaxy Tab 7.7's ultra-thin design and enhanced screen technology using Super Amoled Plus are key differentiators in the tablet marketplace," Simon Stanford, managing director of Samsung UK's mobile unit, said in a statement.

The device is powered by Google's Android Honeycomb, version 3.2, overlaid with Samsung's proprietary TouchWiz user interface.

"The TouchWiz UX includes a 'Mini Apps' tray of commonly used features such as task manager, calendar and music player, which can be launched while other major applications are already in use. The clipboard feature allows users to copy and paste texts and images," the company said.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 rear camera

At the back of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a 3-megapixel camera, while the front has a 2-megapixel one for video calling. The tablet supports full 1080P high-definition video playback.

It will arrive with a 1.4GHz dual-core processor. It will also offer Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi channel bonding functionality, which are rarities among tablets and mobiles. Channel bonding aims to provide an improved connection and higher data-transfer speeds.

Samsung emphasised the device's 10 hours of video-playback time, which is similar to that of the iPad, saying it had not "sacrificed battery life for its ultra-thin design".

The company was unable to provide UK availability and pricing for the Galaxy Tab 7.7 at the time of writing. 

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Samsung Galaxy Note tablet

On Thursday, Samsung also introduced the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note hybrid device, which it described as "a new category of product".

The Note, which is somewhere between a large handset and a small tablet, provides "core on-the-go benefits of various mobile devices while maintaining smartphone portability", the company said. The device is being pitched as a replacement for pen and paper.

Samsung's handset-come-tablet hybrid comes with a stylus stored inside the device. The S Pen can be used for sketching as well as writing, and its use has been integrated into the Galaxy Note's native applications. Samsung said it plans to release a software development kit (SDK) for the S Pen, for outside developers to create applications based on the stylus technology.

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Samsung Galaxy Note

Like the Tab 7.7, the Note will run Android 2.3, Gingerbread. It has a 1.4GHz processor and an 8.1-megapixel camera.

Milanesi doubted the 5-inch Note will attract buyers, noting there has been lacklustre demand for similar devices. The only other large manufacturer to launch a 5-inch device is Dell, with its Streak handset.

"I do not think 5.3 inches is a good form factor. [It's an] in-between size that makes a phone usage difficult and a tablet usage limited," she said. "It seems like a cross between the Dell Streak and the HTC Flyer, and neither device has done well. I am not sure why Samsung think the combination of the two would have better luck."

Samsung was unable to provide UK availability and pricing for the Galaxy Note at the time of writing.


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