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Samsung’s Galaxy Note: Is it a tablet or phone?

September 1, 2011 |  3:00 pm


Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note, a new 5.3-inch touchscreen device, on Thursday at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin.

But in announcing the new gadget, Samsung described the Note as neither a phone or a tablet, but instead something different.

Whether consumers end up buying into Samsung's vision -- instead of seeing the Note as just a big phone or a little tablet -- remains to be seen.

The 5.3-inch display is bigger than just about any smartphone, yet it is smaller than most tablets, which typically run as small as a 7-inch screen size.

One thought that comes to mind is whether or not the Note could repeat the category confusion of the Dell Streak 5, which had a 5-inch touchscreen, ran Android and failed to catch up with consumers in any significant way. Dell has since released a 7-inch version of the Dell Streak.

Samsung has high hopes for the Note, touting it as being the first in a "new category of product, developed through Samsung's deep consumer understanding and insight."

"It combines core on-the-go benefits of various mobile devices while maintaining smartphone portability, to create a whole new user experience," Samsung said.

Another curiosity of the Note is the inclusion of a stylus that can be used to take notes or draw, as well as replace the tapping normally done on Android with a finger.

The move to include a stylus echoes that of HTC's push for tablets with styluses, such as its Jetstream, Evo View and Flyer tablets and a legion of PDAs before it (Newton, Palm Pilot, etc.)

"An advanced pen-input technology, called the S Pen, is combined with the Galaxy Note's full touchscreen to introduce a new type of user experience," Samsung said. "Through this, consumers are able to freely capture and create ideas while on the go."

So, does anyone actually want a device that fits between tablets and phones, with a digital pen? Samsung seems to think so. What do you think? Sound off in the comments.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo:  D.J. Lee, executive vice president of Samsung, presents the Galaxy Note at the IFA mobile trade show Thursday in Berlin. Credit: Odd Andersen / AFP/Getty Images