Is Samsung Aiming for Wacom?

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Samsung introduced a new tablet computer that not only competes with the iPad but also Wacom tablets, news reports say. Shown publicly at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is an iPad-sized device that comes with a bevy of graphics tools and a pressure-sensitive stylus, something the iPad currently does not support. Furthermore, it's based on the open Android operating system.

While the Galaxy Note 10.1 ships with productivity tools for the office, the main audience for the Galaxy Note 10.1 seems to be the graphics market, and it's the S-Pen stylus and the larger screen that puts the tablet in competition with Wacom tablets. Samsung had previously shipped a version of a pen-optimized tablet but the screen size was only 5-inches, making it a little too small for most graphic artists. The new, larger unit has a 10.1-inch 1200-x-800-pixel screen, a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash that faces backward (for taking photos of landscapes and such) and a 2-megapixel camera that faces forward (for video-conferences and self-portraits). It will come in three versions: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.

The pre-installed software underscores the tablet's utility for graphic artists. Pen-sensitive versions of Adobe Ideas and Photoshop Touch for the Android platform are pre-installed, making the tablet a good platform for both vector illustrations and pixel images. Among the other pen-sensitive apps for graphic artists that will come with the tablet are: TouchRetouch, an app that erases elements from images; Zen Brush, an app with Sumi-style brushes app; and OmniSketch, an app for drawing and sketching art. A children's drawing app, Hello Crayon comes with it as well.

Photos: The Verge

For business users, the Galaxy Note 10.1 ships with productivity software that allows you to use the stylus to take notes and jot down formulas, both of which can be converted to images for attachment to meeting minutes and so on.

For graphic artists the question remains: can the Galaxy Note 10.1 really replace a Wacom tablet? Currently, the devices are apples and oranges. Both use a pressure-sensitive stylus to draw pictures or edit images. But the Galaxy Note 10.1 is a self-contained unit, while the Wacom requires connection to an external CPU. That's not to say graphic designers won't enjoy using the Galaxy Note 10.1 as a digital sketchpad when it's released. But Samsung hasn't announced a release date, and a lot can happen between now and then.

Many of the following links include hands-on coverage from Barcelona:

Meet Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1> on The Washington Post.

Samsung Takes On the Wacom Art Tablets With 10.1-Inch Galaxy Note on Gizmodo.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 announced: definitely a tablet (hands-on photos) on The Verge

Hands On With the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 on PCMag.com

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 hands-on on BGR.com.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 officially a real tablet that makes sense on CNet.

Samsung announces Galaxy Note 10.1 at MWC (update: hands-on photos!) on Engadget.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1: First Look on PC World.

Samsung Galaxy Notes: The rebirth of the stylus on ZDNet.

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