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1/10/2012
12:36 PM
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Samsung Unveils Supersized Smartphone

Samsung showed two new devices at CES 2012 this week: a 5.3-inch phone, called Galaxy Note, and a super-thin Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet.

CES Preview: Robots And Toys Go Wireless And Autonomous
CES Preview: Robots And Toys Go Wireless And Autonomous
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Samsung just supersized the smartphone. At 5.3 inches, the behemoth Galaxy Note, Samsung's newest offering unveiled at CES this week, is pushing the boundaries between phone and tablet (see the difference in the video embedded below). It still fits in the palm of a hand, it's still as thin as a wafer, thanks to Corning's thinner Gorilla Glass 2, and it's still feathery light. And it still runs Android Gingerbread (2.3), but that's a story for another day.

In addition to the Galaxy Note's massive size, it includes a stylus (called the S Pen), for input--really the first high-end smartphone to do so. The Galaxy Note comes with an app called S Memo, where users can combine images, text, and hand-written notes into a single document to be shared. Samsung has attempted to make the stylus a more functional input tool than we've seen in previous attempts, including using it to make touch gestures, the ability to pull up a quick notepad at any time, and a tap-and-hold to take a screen shot, which you can also mark up with the pen.

(An early Engadget Galaxy Note review does a great job of getting into some of the phone's features.)

[ There's more at CES than smartphones and tablets. Read Intel Touts Ultrabooks Design Potential: CES 2012. ]

Galaxy Note is powered by a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor, has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2 megapixel front camera. The 5.3-inch screen is Super AMOLED, and its resolution is 1280 x 800. It will run on AT&T's LTE (4G) network. The company hasn't announced pricing and availability.

And in case it wasn't already clear how close the G-Note is to being a tablet, and not just a phone, Samsung also announced an only slightly bigger tablet: the Galaxy Tab 7.7, which contains a 1.4-GHz dual-core processor, a Super AMOLED Plus display (1280 x 800), a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera (full 720p recording), a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and will run on Verizon's LTE (4G) network.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7, like the 10-inch Galaxy Tab, is super thin, at 7.9 millimeters, and it weighs 340 grams. For now, it runs Android Honeycomb 3.2, and includes Samsung's TouchWhiz interface.

Otherwise, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a fairly standard Android tablet. It does include an infrared blaster, which works with Peel Smart Remote, which apparently lets users control their home entertainment systems. It works with any manufacturer's system.

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