Aug. 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM ET
Samsung executives and film director Baz Luhrmann stepped onto a stage in New York City on Wednesday to introduce the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, which will be available in the U.S. on Thursday. Once Luhrmann stopped stumbling over the device's name, discussion turned to the tablet's supposedly superior media creation tools.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 offers a digital pen, a speedy 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. The Android tablet supports a curious multi-app display, allowing users to work on two tasks at once. Luhrmann suggests that this is ideal for video editing, of course. But additionally it means that you could take notes next to an article, sketch something you're seeing in a movie, and so on. Samsung's team emphasizes that the multi-screen feature offers true multi-tasking, since you are not forced to toggle between apps and can actually use both simultaneously.
During the Samsung's presentation, it was emphasized that the digital pen — called the S-Pen — that is included with the Galaxy Note 10.1 is not just a simple stylus. It is a pressure-sensitive input device (which is actually powered by technology created by Wacom, the company behind professional-grade digital drawing tablets). The Galaxy Note 10.1 will come pre-loaded with a custom-made version of Photoshop Touch, allowing users to take advantage of everything the S-Pen has to offer.
"The benchmarks are just off the charts," reporters were told, after hearing about some of the apps specifically designed for the Galaxy Note 10.1. The tablet runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich right now, but will be upgraded to Jelly Bean by end of the year — which one would imagine should improve how the device runs all the more, thanks to Project Butter.
As for the competition, this tablet enters a tough race, with the iPad leagues ahead. Tracking firm iSuppli released a report Tuesday that Apple's 9.7-inch tablet controls about 70 percent of the media tablet market, and that's up from a low of 58 percent back in January. Other challengers in the 10-inch space will come from Microsoft's Surface tablet — available in a mobile RT form and a more power-intensive Pro model — and in the long-awaited (but as yet unconfirmed) 10-inch Kindle tablet from Amazon.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions, which will be priced at $499 and $549, respectively. While it will go on sale on Thursday, folks who are in New York City can actually snag one on Wednesday, by heading to the Best Buy in Union Square.
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