Although Samsung will likely show off its upcoming flagship, the Galaxy S IV, mid- March, the company did not come to this year’s Mobile World Congress empty-handed.
Almost two days before the official event starts, Samsung gave journalists a glimpse of the Galaxy Note 8.0, an 8-inch tablet with a decent set of specs and support for Samsung’s stylus, which the company calls the S Pen.
A big part of the productivity story is the integrated S Pen, which is present on all Galaxy Note devices including the new 8.0. The S Pen is a battery-less stylus that is driven by a Wacom digitizer layer in the Galaxy Note display stack. Samsung offers a combination of its own apps as well as customized third party apps to take advantage of the S Pen.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 integrates Samsung’s Exynos 4 Quad (4412) SoC, which features four ARM Cortex A9 cores running at up to 1.6GHz. The 4412 also features ARM’s Mali 400MP4 GPU, this is the same SoC used in the Galaxy Note 10.1. The SoC is paired with 2GB of RAM.
Although the Galaxy Note 8.0 has a larger screen than Samsung’s older 7-inch tablets — including the Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 2 and Galaxy Tab Plus — its body and design is more streamlined. Its design takes cues from the Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy Note 10.1.
As its name implies, the Galaxy Note 8.0 features an 8-inch 1280 x 800 Samsung PLS display. New for the Note 8.0 is a special reading mode that appears to play with white balance/color calibration in order to reduce eyestrain.
The usual features like Smart Stay (using the front facing camera to detect when you’re looking at the tablet and thus overriding display timeout settings) are also present.
Just like the rest of the Note lineup, Samsung includes an integrated IR blaster in the Galaxy Note 8.0.
Camera duties are handled by a 5MP rear facing module and a 1.3MP front facing camera.
The Note 8.0 will be available in 16GB and 32GB configurations, with a microSD card slot for expansion. There’s a non-removable 4600 mAh battery inside the Galaxy Note 8.0 (should be around 17 Wh, so slightly bigger than what’s in the iPad mini).
The Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)-based device also supports Wi-Fi, A-GPS and comes with a 4,600mAh battery. International versions of the Galaxy Note 8.0 will support HSPA+ or LTE (depending on market) and will be capable of making phone calls.
On the software side, the smaller Note supports multi-window mode, which is the new generation of Samsung’s S Note tools, and comes pre-loaded with software such as Flipboard and Awesome Note. Awesome Note is premiering on Android with the Galaxy Note 8.0, and Samsung will retain exclusive rights to the Android version of the app for at least a year.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 will be available worldwide in the second quarter of 2013. Availability and pricing has not yet been announced.