Galaxy Note: a new experience


September 13, 2011

Samsung offered a preview of many exciting new devices during the IFA trade fair held in Berlin last week. The exhibition gave an overview of the latest gadgets and technologies to be released soon.

What caught mine, and everyone’s attention, was the unveiling of Galaxy Note. The device does not fall in the smartphone or tablet computer category, but combines the functions of both. It runs on a dual-core powerful 1.4GHz processor, the same processor as the Galaxy Tab 7.7, which was also announced at the trade fair.

In addition, it has 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory for storage, an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera. All these features may be present in other smartphones, but what distinguishes this device from the others is two things: Its large display and the stylus.

Although the first tablet released by Samsung in the past year (Tab) allows the user to make phone calls, it is uncomfortable for use as a smartphone because of the seven-inch display. Contrary to the Tab, Galaxy Note has a screen size of 5.3 inches, which is between most smartphones (4 inches) and tablets (7 inches).

It gives users a comfortable experience by providing all the information in one place without the need to navigate back and forth between the menus. In addition, the Super AMOLED high definition display will provide the maximum diversity of colour.

With a thickness of just 9.6mm and weighing 178g, it has the portability of most smartphones. But that is not all as far the advantages of the screen are concerned. Imagine recording a high definition (1,080p) video and seeing the live results through it. Imagine browsing the Internet and viewing an entire website without zooming in.

Although the common way of using multi-touch screens these days is by tapping them with a finger, the stylus can accomplish certain tasks more efficiently, such as taking notes and adding annotations to any part of the screen. It also has the ability to draw, taking advantage of the screen equipped with pressure sensitivity technology.

One of the most important features is that you can use the touch screen with your fingers when you are not using the stylus, unlike most devices that do not let you use both methods alternately.

The device works on the Android operating system (specifically 2.3.5), which does not provide a suitable environment for the stylus. However, Samsung has promised to build and maintain a complete eco-system to provide the maximum benefit from this addition. It will also release a software development kit for developers who want to support the stylus as an input method in their applications.

Samsung wants to provide a new experience to users of this device, and I think it has succeeded even before the release. The biggest proof is the positive reaction from most people who tried it. Galaxy Note has successfully nailed my attention, and only a few devices manage to do so. Will it meet expectations when it comes to the market in the next few months?

Mohammed al Asmar is a technologist and web solutions developer. He has been working for more than ten years in different roles in ICT.