How could you possibly improve a Tablet ? this was playing on in my mind as I sat in the insane Johannesburg traffic battling torrential rain very slowly meandered towards the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 in the heart of town,
Tablets are the virtually the same. Slick, have a functional operating system, Internet connectivity, Email and Web browsing and some “office” apps. All deigned for work and play. All kids love them. Some are better than other – but pretty much standard. What could Samsung possibly to to make me want to buy their tablet ?
The answer soon followed.
Justine Hume, Head of Marketing, and Craig Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communication, set the scene of where the tablet market is at both globally and in South Africa. “780 million tablets are used globally, where 40% are purchased by emerging markets.” Fleischer affirms “the BYOD to work, cloud computing, easy synch of information are the driving factors why the tablet market is growing. “
Justine and Craig also spoke about Samsung’s Learning Hub which is an education portal-system that allows students to consume material on their tablet. Using the Galaxy Note 10.1 students can also make notes in their own handwriting whilst consuming the learning material. The learning Hub will automatically look at your calendar to schedule your learning for you. Samsung has invested into education and when this system becomes available in South Africa, it will have localised content making it relevant to SA students and learners.
Yudi Rambaran, Product Manager Tablets at Samsung SA, demonstrated demonstrated the Galaxy Note’s various features and it soon became clear that the tablet was not “just another” . The Galaxy Note 10.1 has stepped up and delivered a new level.
An obvious difference between this tablet and others is the S-pen. It slots neatly into the tablet and is used whenever you want to write notes, draw diagrams or pictures. Aki Anastasiou asked why Samsung decided to go with a pen where everyone is using finger-touch motion ? Samsung’s answer was that the Galaxy Note 10.1 caters for all. You do not need to use the pen at all if you prefer finger-touch movement you have it. However when you want to preform precise & detailed work, such as using the pre-installed Adobe Photoshop application, a finger will not do the job. You need the accuracy of a pen.
After the short presentation, various “zones” were set up where we had a chance to use the Note 10.1
Here are some of the features that stood out for me:
System Specs: The system comes with a 32GB of internal storage. However, it has an easily accessible MicroSD which is expandable up to 64GB.
It is super fast with 2GB of RAM run by a 1.4GHz Exynos Quad-Core Processor which is powered by a Standard battery, Li-ion 7,000mAh.
The Note has a 5 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash on the back and 1.9 Megapixel Camera on the front. The quality of the images that I shot were crisp and clear. The Buddy Tag & Share feature is also available on the Note like the S3 so tagging people and sharing photos is a breeze.
Phone App: One question I keep posing when it comes to tablet is why not have a phone app ? Not Skype but a native Android phone app. Samsung has thought of that too and the Note has a SIM slot that supports EDGE/GPRS, HSPA+ 21Mbps and has a native phone app too. (in pic I compared my Galaxy Note phone to the Note Tablet)
Multi-Tasking: Muti-tasking is somewhat of a claim that many make. When Samsung says muti-tasking they don’t mean have applications running in the background, but they mean having applications running simultaneously side-by side. This is a great advance in tablet thinking as we are used to having multiple “windows” open so why not have the same experience on a tablet ? I ran video clip in pop-up mode (a feature from the S3) on top of Email on the left and on the right was a web browser – The Note didn’t miss a beat and worked like a charm. I can see this becoming a standard feature on future tablets- just makes sense.
Remote Control: Have you ever sat on the couch, doing some work on your tablet whilst watching TV ? With the Note, you now have a universal remote built in. You simply choose the brand of TV you would like to control and save it. You then have full control over it. I am looking forward to testing this feature.
Whilst it was tempting to switch off some screens at the event, I thought that would be frowned upon so decided against it…but was tempting…
So in Summary:
I see great potential for this tablet in the student market as well as the “creative” market where you can instantly edit and change your images and get creative right in front of your customer. Think Architect/ Designer/ Artist.
I am keen to see to see it working in the “real world”. I want to see how it handles productivity environment where I connect it to the company network and share information with my colleagues and clients whilst running email and editing a spread sheet. I want to see how it integrated into the Google eco-system and the 50gb of Dropbox space doesn’t hurt either.
As an amateur photographer, I am really excited about the expansion slot option. It means I can take my pics and instantly see them and manipulate them on the Note’s screen. Once again – leaving my Notebook behind.
Its the first tablet that I can see that can handle all of my personalities. It switches from work mode, to graphics mode, to play mode. Just like I do.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 will be available in South Africa in the next couple of days at the non-subsidised (contract) price of R8499.