Continuing its apparent quest to produce devices with nearly every conceivable screen size, Samsung appears ready to unveil a third version of its successful Galaxy Note, this one with an 8-inch display. That size comes close to Apple's 7.9-inch iPad mini, and is a further challenge to Apple's dominance of the tablet market, though much will depend on price and specifications.
Samsung will unveil the newcomer at the Mobile World Congress early next month, the company's head of mobile communications, JK Shin, told the South Korean technology news site iNews24.
Catching Up with iPad mini
"Galaxy Note 8, the 8-inch size of the tablet PC ," said the site, as translated by Google. "Apple ahead of Samsung with this product launch 'iPad mini' that corresponds to the strategy."
Samsung already has the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2 half-phone, half-tablet handset (up from 5.3 inches in the first version) and a full-size 10.1-inch tablet that does not make phone calls. The devices are distinctive from other tablets by their S Pen stylus, in some ways a throwback to the era of Palm Pilots and other early personal data assistants in the '90s.
But Samsung's S Pen technology adds new functionality to applications, even more so now that the company has released its Premium Suite Android Jelly Bean upgrade for the Note 10.1, which allows Cascade View for resizing and moving application windows, Quick Command for shortcuts and other features.
News of the new Galaxy Note came on the same day as reports that Apple has a 4.8-inch iPhone planned for next year, and may in fact be looking at a range of iPhone models, rather than just one a year as has been the case since 2007.
That seems a necessary change when so many rivals, especially Samsung, are producing a range of sizes to appeal to those with big and small hands, those who only use e-mail and apps and those who watch videos or use productivity software on their phones and tablets.
Taking It Personal
"We call it personal technology because much of the way these devices are used is highly personal," said technology analyst Michael Gartenberg of Gartner Research.
"As all screens from phones to tablets to PCs to TVs gain overlapping functionality and connectivity, a lot of differentiation and use-drivers will come from diverse screen sizes."
Samsung seems determined to offer the largest range of screen sizes. Counting both phones and tablets, Samsung now has a range of 26 screen sizes from 1.5 inches for feature phones to 10.1 inches in tablets, according to research by the blog PhoneScoop. A report earlier this month said that the next version of the Galaxy S III, Samsung's flagship smartphone, will have at 4.99-inch Super AMOLED 440ppi HD display. The current Galaxy S III, released in May, has a 4.8-inch screen.