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Samsung made official the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 yesterday, drumming up excitement about a much-anticipated tablet. It’ll be available by the end of the month. Quick specs for you: a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a couple different connectivity options (Wi-Fi only, Wi-Fi plus 21 Mbps HSPA+ 3G, or WiFi plus LTE, says the Verge). It weighs a pound and a quarter, about. And it’s got a big old screen, bigger than the iPad–that 10.1 in the name refers to diagonal inches.

The real event here is this video. Take a look, then let’s discuss.

That tablets are predominantly media consumption devices, rather than productivity devices, has been something of a stance of mine on this blog. (See: here, here, here.) Increasingly, it’s a stance from which I’m willing to back off somewhat. And with a video like that one, I’m almost sold.

For me, this is the first time I’ve seen a tablet do something I really want, but haven’t quite found elsewhere–that moment where hand-written text is converted into type. I love writing by hand (mostly on paper…but I suppose I could learn a new medium), but the piles of notebooks I’ve accumulated are, to put it mildly, impractical. Which notebook’s from my trip to Paris? And which page did I record that funny anecdote a friend told me? Handwriting simply isn’t searchable–except when it is, and that’s what the Galaxy Note 10.1 promises to do.

Other features I find especially impressive are an apparent ability to run two apps side-by-side in tandem. Also, towards the end of the video, my imagination is piqued by the AllShare Play GroupCast–the power to collaborate across multiple tablets, more or less at the same time. (It puts me in mind of the app Idea Flight, only with an emphasis on creativity rather than presentation.) And of course, all of this comes down to the integrated stylus, key to enabling certain functions like handwriting.

The one thing I could do without is the elevator music in the background. But presumably the tablet itself doesn’t run that continuously.

It’s difficult to pronounce on a tablet that hasn’t been release yet, of course, so we’ll have to stay tuned for when it lands in the hands of real users–rather than the extremely dexterous CGI one featured in the video. But all in all, an impressive offering from Samsung, and another strike against my thesis that productivity is always better on a laptop.

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Tagged: Computing, A123 Systems

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