As more and more tablets flood an increasingly crowded and competitive market, Samsung is getting ready to debut an 8-inch Galaxy Note tablet that would compete directly with Apple’s popular iPad Mini device, a report from Samsung mobile device fan site SamMobile said.
The site claims to have received specifications of the Galaxy Note 8.0, known by its moniker GT-N5100, including the release of two models, one with WiFi and 3G wireless connectivity, and one featuring only WiFi. Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, a USB 2.0 port, 1280 by 800 thin-film-transistor (TFT) LCD touch-screen display, 5-megapixel back camera and 1.3-megapixel front camera, 2GB of RAM, and up to 32GB of storage and a Micro SD slot that can add another 32GB.
The device will run Google’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, according to the report, and could be released during the Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of February. Samsung used last year’s convention as the launch pad for the first Galaxy Note tablet—a 10.1-in. version.
With the release of the iPad Mini last fall, Apple greatly increased competition in the smaller form-factor tablet space, introducing a device that was more sophisticated than lower-end 7-inch tablets from companies like Google, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Samsung’s 8-inch Galaxy Note tablet would likely be more of a competitor to the iPad Mini than Amazon’s Kindle Fire or Google’s Nexus 7 tablets.
The iPad Mini, which starts at $329, has been even more successful than Apple anticipated, according to a December blog post from NPD DisplaySearch. NPD reported Apple had planned to sell 6 million units in 2012, but the company was asking panel makers to ship more than 12 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 to fulfill the strong demand.
The report also noted that although the new iPad, which launched alongside the iPad Mini and sports a more powerful processor, was originally planned to replace the iPad 2, strong sales of the legacy model have continued. An estimated 25 percent of Americans own a tablet device, such as an iPad or a Kindle Fire, up from the 10 percent who owned tablets in late 2011, according to a Pew survey, which was conducted from Oct. 15 to Nov. 10 among 2,252 Americans 16 years old and older.
Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by cannibalizing PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs, a Jan. 14 report from IT research firm Gartner found.