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Just before the start of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Samsung has announced the Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. At 8 inches the Samsung's Note 8.0's screen is marginally larger than the iPad Mini's, which the new device is squarely aimed at in the small-tablet segment. Android 4.1.2 with Samsung's Touchwiz interface is running on the device.
Like the smaller Galaxy Note and Note II devices, the Note 8.0 comes with Samsung's S-Pen Stylus which has been updated to work with the tablet's physical navigation buttons. The S-Pen's Airview function has been expanded too. The ability to preview certain content by hovering the pen above the screen rather than touching it is now also available on third-party apps. A new version of the popular Flipboard social reader app is first to debut the hover technology, but more apps are expected to incorporate the feature in the future.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 also offers the same multi-tasking support as the Note II and comes with a number of pre-installed apps such as Samsung's Chat-On, the note-taking app Awesome Note, the above mentioned Flipboard and the universal remote app Smart Remote, among others.
From a hardware point of view the new device doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary. The quad-core processor in combination with 2GB RAM should provide plenty of oomph for running all those apps and, depending on your storage requirements, you can choose from 16 and 32GB versions and add Micro-SD cards with a capacity of up to 64GB. At 189ppi the pixel-density of the 1280x800 screen is much lower than on some of the 1080p 5- and 5.5-inch phones released this year, or Apple's Retina displays, but keeps in line with most other devices with a similar screen size.
With a 5MP rear camera which allows for 1080p video recording and a 1.3 MP front equivalent the Note 8.0's image capturing capabilities are fairly modest but that is not unusual for a device that most users would consider too large for being used as a camera substitute. Equally, most users would probably find the Galaxy Note 8.0 too bulky to use it as a phone, but nonetheless non-U.S. versions of the tablet will offer the ability to place phone calls and send text messages. Consumers in the U.S will have to make do without this feature. We can only speculate if this is to avoid cannibalizing phone sales down to carrier preferences, or if the decision is due to other unknown reasons, but it appears that, at least in the U.S., the Note 8.0 will follow the Galaxy Camera's footsteps as another 'software-crippled' Samsung device without a phone feature.
Samsung hasn't released details yet on availability or pricing but you'll be able to purchase the Galaxy Note 8.0 in select European and Asian countries from the second quarter of this year. It'll be available in the U.S. later in the year.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 headline specs: