Samsung gets out ahead of the pack with the first of what should be plenty of MWC announcements over the next few days. Meet the new Note which combines the best of Samsung's phone and tablet devices.
Taking Notes and Names
This is hardly a surprise launch, but Samsung has got the MWC ball rolling in style with the new Note 8.0. Packing an 8-inch 1,280 x 800 TFT display it has the same resolution as the larger Note 10" models but in a more compact form and further splits the pack between 7" and 10" devices. With the world about to move on to glasses-mounted devices and watches, tablets might be a better bet than smartphones soon.
Inside we have the 1.6GHz Exynos 4 Quad-core CPU clocked and 2GB of RAM, with up to 32GB available through microSD cards. It offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G radio and runs the 4.1.2 flavor of Jelly Bean, tweaked with Samsung's TouchWiz interface.
That comes with a load of Samsung features and apps including Smart Stay screen management, Multi-Windowing and Air View preview mode, plus Popup video and AllShare Play and Cast for network content sharing.
There's also a teaked version of the popular Flipboard news browser app that uses the pen for easier navigation and Awesome Note which lets the pen handle the Android's hardware buttons for you. Pricing is to be confirmed, but the Note 8.0 will be available in the next couple of months.
Watch That S Pen Go
The stylus that so many mocked is now quite a handy gadget in its own right, with a range of new features. The S Pen doesn't even have to touch the screen with compatible apps, so with Air View, the S Pen needs only to hover over the screen to let you see previews of videos, emails, photos and appointments on S Planner without opening the file or application in full.
Continuing in that vein, there's S Pen Gesture which allows images and content to be easily edited and cropped, whilst Paper Artist and Photo Note allow photos to be artistically personalized. And, to be more helpful around the home, the Note 8 can be a remote control and TV guide for your big-screen and has special e-reading modes for the clearest display.
With the Samsung Galaxy S4 due out in a couple of weeks, how many of Samsung's fans will be ready to upgrade both devices, and how many newcomers will be tempted by the plethora of hot features each device is packing?