Samsung introduced a 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) version of its Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and on March 5 announced that Verizon Wireless will begin selling it March 7 with 16GB of flash memory for $599.99.
The 16GB WiFi-only version of the tablet retails for $499.99, while a 32GB version is priced at $549.99.
The tablet, following a trend Samsung started with the Galaxy Note II, features an S Pen—an advanced stylus that, like a normal pen or marker, responds to pressure. (A firmer hand makes a darker line.) The pen ideally enables users to take notes that can be converted from handwriting to text, but the better one’s penmanship, the better that tends to work out. The S Pen can also be used for a number of artistic endeavors Samsung’s software makes possible, from painting to photo editing.
The Note 10.1 features a 10.1-inch high-definition touch-screen with a resolution of 1,280 by 800, runs Android 4.1 and a 1.4GHz quad-core processor. It also includes a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera.
Other distinctive features are its ability to feature two screens, or applications, side by side—whether for dragging and dropping content with the S Pen or watching a movie while writing up, say, a grocery list.
The Note 10.1 can also be used as a universal remote, and includes AllShare Play, Pop Up Play and Group Cast, and is a Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) device, making it a particularly welcome tablet within enterprises with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
The device received celebrity endorsements from fashion designer Zac Posen and filmmaker Baz Luhrmann when Samsung introduced it in August 2012.
For the mobile carriers, revenue is in data. Verizon and AT&T last summer shifted to a shared data model that focuses on an account with a data allotment that multiple devices can sip from, versus focusing on single devices.
“Individuals, families and small businesses will all eventually be moved onto tiered data share plans … It’s also more likely to get more users connecting tablets to 4G, instead of just relying on WiFi, as the majority now do,” Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said during a May 2012 J.P. Morgan conference.
On a Verizon earnings call Jan. 22, Shammo indicated that all was going according to plan.
“If you look at our Internet device category, including the tablets, we had one of our strongest quarters [regarding] device-attachment rate than we have had in the past,” Shammo told the analysts. “This all drives revenue.”
Earlier in the call, Shammo noted that during the fourth quarter of 2012, Verizon sold 600,000 Internet devices, “virtually all [of which] were 4G LTE, with turbo sales doubling over the third quarter.”
Samsung is the second-largest seller of tablets worldwide. During the fourth quarter of 2012, it sold nearly 8 million tablets, according to IDC, for a 15 percent market share. This put it ahead of third-place Amazon, which sold 6 million, and behind market leader Apple, which sold 23 million iPads for a 44 percent share of the market.
Although Apple created the tablet market with the iPad and has always led it, Samsung continues to gain on Apple. A year earlier, Apple’s market share was 52 percent to Samsung’s 7 percent.