Samsung announces 5.3-inch “smartphone”

Sometimes it’s hard to classify a product as one thing or the other. The Nook Color is technically an ereader but it works just as well as a tablet. The upcoming Sony Vita games console has so many features and specifications in common with other devices that calling it a gaming centric tablet is as good a description as any. The smartphone/tablet separation can also be hard to see sometimes with phone features in 7-inch tablets and practically the same hardware in smartphones and tablets aside from the battery and screen size.

Samsung’s new smartphone is definitely one of the most confusing devices I’ve seen in a while as far as what to define it as is concerned. Called the Samsung Note, this monster has a 5.3-inch screen with a resolution of a whopping 800 x 1280 pixels. That’s the same resolution as 10″ Honeycomb tablets and a physical screen size that is actually bigger than some devices that are sold as tablets. With a dual core 1.4Ghz CPU and 1GB RAM, 2/8 mpix cameras, microSD, 1080p recording and 16/32GB internal memory it’s quite a beast as far as tech specs go as well. To end all hope of classifying this thing as one thing or the other, Samsung also includes a pen that can be used to write on the screen (hence the name).

With a resolution as high as 800 x 1280, a lot of differences between this and a 10-inch tablet comes down to how good your eyesight is. No doubt that 720p video, images, games etc will look amazing on the Note’s AMOLED screen, and reading documents, books, magazines etc will be possible without zooming as long as you don’t mind a physically smaller screen with the same amount of detail. What a bigger screen gives you however is more room for interface objects such as buttons and controls, which have to be scaled based on the size of a finger and not a set amount of pixels. In other words it’s a great hybrid device, but it still won’t completely negate the need for a tablet. That is likely why it’s running Android 2.3 as well, as Honeycomb has been rumored to not play well with physically small screens in the past, regardless of resolution.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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