HTC and LG try to take the phablet challenge

Galaxy Note White front and back with S-PenThe phablet, a term coined after the arrival of the original phablet – the Samsung Galaxy Note, now has a market all to itself. It addressed a niche that needed a much larger display, but still retaining smartphone possibilities. Not only that, it was also a device that resurrected the stylus in the form of the S-Pen. This market has grown, and now HTC and LG want a piece of the pie.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is a device that differentiates itself in two aspects. One is the display which is over 5 inches diagonally. The other is the great implementation of the stylus in the overall functionality of the device, boosting productivity and accuracy. These two factors created the ultimate productivity smartphone-tablet hybrid.

LG, a major South Korean brand, could see that the Samsung Galaxy Note was indeed a winner product, and the product line is going somewhere in the future. That is why they created the LG Optimus VU, which Verizon has ironically named the LG Intuition. It was meant to emulate the same success that Samsung had with the Samsung Galaxy Note, but in many people’s eyes, it falls short.

The LG Intuition is soon to hit Verizon. It has been made official, and will be available for $199 in a contract. The LG Intuition also has a 5-inch display, but uses a 4:3 aspect ratio. This makes the device wider at portrait than the usual phones we use, making it harder to fit into the pocket, and harder for smaller hands to use.

Many reviews already find that the LG Optimus VU, now LG Intuition, had a very poor implementation of the Stylus compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note which incorporates the stylus pretty well within the operating system. Otherwise, the specs seem good on paper, rated at 1.5 GHz with its dual core Snapdragon processor, with 1 GB of RAM and LTE capabilities. Then again, usability is always the greatest factor above specs, so even if the device does perform well on paper, it may take a hit in usability with its poor design.

HTC is on the losing side right now, and they are trying to bounce right back into the game. The problem is they have yet to land a clear winner in the market, and remains to be overshadowed by larger OEMs that can afford better marketing. The HTC One X was indeed awesome, but they needed more than that to get back into this race. Maybe a phablet will do?

That might just be the case after we are treated into a few teaser photos from PhoneHK detailing an HTC smartphone which looks like it has a 5-inch display. The leak shots were rather blurry, but it does seem larger than the HTC One X. Some leaked benchmarks also indicate that the display would have a 1794 × 1080p HD display. There seems to be no stylus, or it could have a stylus but no slot for it like the LG Intuition.

Judging from the blurry shot, Beats is still available for the device. The photos were removed from the source, but copies of the images have already been spread around the web. If HTC was planning to keep this secret, they are one step further from that goal. It looks beautiful by the way, and you can bet we will be watching out for this device.

The phablet is indeed on its way from being a community watch-word to a real device category. I wonder which OEM will launch their own phablet in the future. What are your bets?

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 to grace the seas this month

Finally, we have definite word from Samsung that the new Galaxy Note will hit waves soon! No, it’s not the Galaxy Note 2, but rather, the Galaxy Note 10.1, which we last heard about in the Barcelona Mobile World Congress.

It has been confirmed that August is the magic month when the full blown tablet will finally get shipped internationally. Yes, that is this month!

Samsung released a 5-inch Galaxy Note which got acclaim all over. It was a device that mingled between the realms of the smartphone and the realms of the Tablet. Now that Samsung has data that people really buy into touch screen phones that uses the stylus, or Samsung’s S-pen, they are ready to break the barrier and hit the largest screen size they can muster for the Note series. Hence, the Galaxy Note 10.1.

Looking at the new Galaxy Note 10.1, you can see that it resembles the design of the current Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. This is a good thing, as the new design is Apple patent proof, which will lead to fewer headaches for Samsung. The device sports a 5-megapixel back shooter with a 1.9-megapixel front camera. Sound’s familiar? Yes, that is the same front camera for the Samsung Galaxy S3.

There are other things that the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the popular Samsung Galaxy S3 have in common, such as both sporting a quad core processor, as well as the smart stay function that uses the front camera to track your face and see if you are looking at the device. It keeps the screen on, as long as it detects a pair of open eyes.

One more function that The Samsung Galaxy S3 has in common with the Galaxy Note 10.1, is the focus on multitasking. Although with the Galaxy Note 10.1, they went a few dozen steps beyond. Never before seen on an OS designed for mobile phones or any other Android device is the ability to run apps side by side. Yes, the new Note allows apps like the S-note as well as the browser to run side by side and work on the same screen. Samsung intends to make full use of the quad core capabilities of their device with features like these. While it does not support all apps yet, it is a step in a great direction. Take note that the video pop-up display seen on the Samsung Galaxy S3 is also present on this tablet.

Improving over the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is supposed to have 2GB of ram, which is very much welcome to maintain smooth operation.

Now many would say that is already present as a feature in the Windows 8 operating system. Note that I mentioned “OS designed for mobile phones”. The Windows 8 was originally a PC operating system and it had multitasking long before Windows 8, so it is no surprise they should have it. I would argue that it even is a step back for Microsoft, while a step forward for Samsung.

Let’s not forget the feature that defines the Galaxy Note series: the S-pen stylus. Samsung reports that they are able to support 256 levels of pressure with their new device. There is also a sensor on the holster of the device that can be mapped to run an app of your choice once the stylus is removed. This is placed on the S-note by default.

The only point of concern is that this device is expected to hit above the $700 price point without tax. Still, it is a great device again from Samsung, despite ongoing legal spats across the globe. Are you excited to get the next generation in Note taking hardware?

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Samsung Galaxy Note II benchmarks confirm rumors

Things are heating up as the world anticipates the upcoming release of the update to Google’s successful venture at a Phone/Tablet hybrid. The Samsung Galaxy Note II is rumored to arrive 1 year after the announcement of the original at the IFA Unpacked event. While rumors keep flying around about the details of the device, it would seem that we now have something more tangible than rumors.

Some benchmark data were spotted at the GLBechmark database confirming some specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Codenamed GT N-7100, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is expected to follow the same specification pattern as the original vs. its partner flagship phone. There was a 200 MHz difference in clock speed between the Galaxy S II and the original Samsung Galaxy Note. According to the benchmark data, the Samsung Galaxy Note II will sport the same 200 MHz bump from the Galaxy S III, which puts the clock speed at 1.6 GHz.

It should also be noted that the processor has been confirmed to use Quad Core technology. While this has been the case with the Galaxy S III’s international version as well, if patterns are to be followed, the new Galaxy Note will also have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC.

The benchmark also somewhat confirms that there will be a change in the screen’s aspect ratio. Previously it was [16:10], but the results point to a 16:9 aspect ratio, which might confirm the screen size bump from 5.3 to 5.5 inches. The screen features a 1280×720 resolution. The view of your Galaxy becomes wider.

While the benchmarks of the Samsung Galaxy Note II point towards the Ice Cream Sandwich as its operating system, it is expected that it will either be update to Jelly Bean soon after release, or come out of the box with Jelly Bean installed. Software is after all, more flexible to changes than hardware.

Note that the data have been removed from the site possibly due to inaccuracy, or to stop the spread of this leak. Be it in another IFA or on August 30, everyone is just simply excited about the arrival of another powerful Galaxy device for the Android line. Hopefully, Samsung not disappoint with the anticipated release. Are you saving up for your own Galaxy Note II?

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Samsung to team up with T-Mobile for new Galaxy Note

Samsung’s smartphone/tablet hybrid Galaxy Note is moving out of AT&T exclusivity and is partnering with T-Mobile.

Rumors have been circulating that Samsung is going to move the Galaxy Note out of the AT&T confines and move it to T-Mobile.

Samsung officially stopped the rumors by issuing an official press release that says that the Galaxy Note will have a new carrier, T-Mobile. The Galaxy Note will use the telecom’s HSPA+ network rather than AT&T’s 4G LTE.

The Samsung Galaxy Note runs on 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor. It has a 5.3 inch HD AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 800 x 1280 and a 2 MP front facing camera and an 8 MP rear facing camera. It can capture full HD video at 1080p.

Unfortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Note will run on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and not Google’s latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The device will come with apps like S Note, S Memo and Polaris Office that you can use with a stylus.

The exact date for the release of the Galaxy Note is yet to be released. But Samsung and T-Mobile has assured American customers that it will be released in the coming weeks.


Samsung bridges the gap between phone and tablet

For tech giant Samsung, size seems to be everything. That is probably the reason why the phones they have developed since the Galaxy S have been getting bigger and bigger. They even experimented on Tablet phones by launching the Samsung Galaxy Tab phone editions. These 7-inch phones that double as your tablet and e-book reader have created a new niche for themselves.

Still, Samsung feels like there is something missing between 4-inches and 7-inches. That is probably what prompted them to make another size niche, the 5-inch series they called the Samsung Galaxy Note.

The Samsung Galaxy Note was an underrated revolution. Even in this world of touch phones, there are those who miss the accuracy and the easy of being able to use a stylus to interact with their devices. What good is a large screen real-estate if they are not able to do simple task as writing and drawing, simply because they are not used to doing that with their finger alone?

The Samsung Galaxy Note addressed those needs by allowing both touch and stylus inputs on a single device, with a large enough screen to allow you to do your work, and yet be small enough to fit your pocket and act as a phone. This bridged the unseen gap between the tablet and the phone. Many people digressed from the idea. Some would say the large screen is just too much and looks ridiculous during a call. The big shots from Korea don’t seem to think so.

New leaks pertaining to the successor of the Samsung Galaxy Note reveal that while the original had a 5.3-inch screen; it would seem that they stretched that even further to 5.5-inches. Hopefully, they will be able to maintain the size of the actual phone, as anything bigger would just be too big for the hand and the pocket. The unnamed Samsung rep also reveals that there would at least be 12-13 megapixels for the camera and that it would sport a Quad core processor, which we all expect to be another Exynos processor.

It would also seem that Samsung will include the Android Jelly Bean in the upcoming device, although it remains to be seen if it will be influenced by Touchwiz, and by how much will they alter the vanilla experience. One thing is for sure, it would seem that the Samsung Galaxy Note is another device to look out for in you plans to get a new smartphone. It has certainly come in handy for a lot of users and the new release may just get more people raring to go at the new niche.

Will you be dropping your cash on this new device?

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