Samsung’s immensely popular Galaxy tablet family are due for an upgrade, a true successor to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 not just a tweak to the existing hardware. With rumours circulating and demonstrations to quiet the impatient masses Samsung’s latest slab of fantastic draws near.
Initially set for a June release, Samsung has had a number of difficulties that have slowed the development process, pushing the release date out to Q3 2012. No word on pricing from Samsung but expect it to be leading edge expensive.
February saw Samsung preview the pre-release systems at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. While the demonstration model was a fully working tablet the hardware it contained was pure current generation, taken from the current Tab 10.1.
The hardware destined for the production model was mired in technical difficulties with the chips generating far too much heat which severely limited maximum clock speeds. The initial performance numbers for the final silicon suggest the issues are well behind Samsung. The early numbers indicate the Note 10.1 will be fast, very fast, taking NVidia’s Tegra 3 and Apple’s A5 processors to the cleaners.
The hardware specifications have also solidified, the Exynos 4412 quad core processor with Malu GPU is at the heart of the tablet, the same chipper driving the new Galaxy S3. The included LCD display provides 1280 x 800 pixels of resolution, maintaining Samsung’s bright and richly colourful display tradition of the Galaxy family. A 3-megapixel camera on the back, and a 2-megapixel camera on the front keep the happy snappers amongst us clicking away.
16, 32 or 64 GB storage options will be available with extra storage provided by the micro SD card slot. Pre-loaded into you Flash Ram is Android 4 ICS, with Samsung’s collection of customizations and software running on top of the Ice Cream Sandwich.
The standard HDMI, audio and USB ports will be joined by an Infra-Red transmitter, capable of turning the Note into a 10.1 inch smart remote. All housed in a new matte black case that promises to hide smudges and figure prints better than the Pink Panther.
There has been no word from Samsung on the inclusion of a 4G / LTE model, the demonstration units all contained Wi-Fi with standard 3G mobile communications.
The heart and soul of the Note 10.1 is of course the stylus, making the Note 10.1 a graphic designers dream, a Wacom tablet with a brain if you will. Apparently the Note 10.1 will also work with any other Wacom-compatible stylus’s according to Samsung .
Samsung’s own pen, the S Pen has also been upgraded for the new Note, with a thicker pen body and able to handle more pressure the new S Pen should be more comfortable while also being more capable.
The initial Galaxy Note lacked software that showed off the S Pen. The 10.1, on the other hand will have more pen-friendly software available including Adobe Photoshop Touch and Adobe Ideas (which is like Illustrator). Pre-installed pen friendly apps will include the drawing apps Zen Brush and Omni Sketch and Hello Crayon for kids, along with S Memo with hand writing recognition and the fast and simple S Note.
Samsung have already churned through multiple versions of the hardware and software in order to ensure the Note 10.1 is everything it can be, the best damn tablet with a stylus twist. In a sea of clone tablets Samsung have created something a little different, a finger friendly tablet that also provides the accuracy and sheer artistic ability of a stylus.