Samsung Announces Galaxy Note 8, Aiming To Compete with iPad Mini

One of the major announcements at Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet.

Samsung will start selling the new tablet in the April to June period, at an as yet undetermined price. Photo: qiibo/Flickr

It was just three short years ago that Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab and now, three Notes later, it’s ready to perfect the one-handed experience.

Samsung Electronics is beefing up its tablet range with a competitor to Apple’s iPad Mini that sports a pen for writing on the screen.

The company has announced its new 8-inch, Android tablet today at Mobile World Congress, a large mobile tradeshow in Barcelona, and it hopes its new software features and the portable size will make it standout.

Samsung says it was designed to be like a personal notebook or diary and that it is the perfect size for you to take anywhere.

The tablet is slightly wider than the 7-inch tablets on the market, including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7, and is meant to be easier to operate in one hand.

Samsung’s first Android tablet introduced in 2010 – the Galaxy Tab – had a 7-inch display and the company has since made tablets with various different screen sizes.

Its arrival makes clear that the company’s Note line is, indeed a line: with its 8″ screen, the Note 8.0 sits between the Galaxy Note II, a 5.5″ mega-phone, and the Galaxy Note 10.1, a full-sized tablet.

The new model’s screen size also makes it possibly the most direct competitor to Apple’s iPad Mini, which has a display that’s just a slosh smaller at 7.9″.

At 338 grams (11.9 ounces), the Note 8.0’s not much heavier than the iPad mini and as it’s made to be held one-handed, you shouldn’t feel much wrist strain with extended use. 

Samsung’s wisely made use of the additional screen real estate to bundle two extra features.

According to Engadget, building upon market research that indicates over 80-percent of tablet use takes place within the living room, the company’s partnered with Peel for its Smart Remote app, a visual programming guide with remote control functions baked-in that comes pre-loaded on the tab.

As with the other Notes, the Note 8.0 emphasizes productivity. Samsung has made the pen, or more properly the stylus, one of the tools it uses to chip away at Apple’s dominance in both tablets and high-end smartphones.

Apple doesn’t make any devices that work with styluses, preferring to optimize its interfaces for fingers, mice and touchpads.

The pressure-sensitive pen based on Wacom’s technology, software which takes advantage of it (including both Samsung apps such as the S Note notetaker and a custom version of Flipboard) and other Android tweaks such as Samsung’s unique two-apps-at-once feature, reports the Time.

Powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, the Galaxy Note 8.0 features a 1280 x 800-resolution WXGA screen and a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front.

Reading mode and Smart Remote are clearly the Note 8.0’s two biggest software features, but to make the tab just a bit more alluring, Samsung’s pre-loading two other applications suited to the Note 8.0’s form and function.

Awesome Note (a cloud-based annotation app previously available only on iOS) has been integrated into the device as a free service, exclusive to the OEM for one year.

Samsung will start selling the new tablet in the April to June period, at an as yet undetermined price.

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