Wednesday, September 04, 2013, 12:15 pm PT (03:15 pm ET)
Samsung shows off Galaxy Note 3 'phablet', new Note 10.1 tablet, Galaxy Gear smart watchOn Wednesday in Berlin, Apple rival Samsung announced three new Android-powered devices that will become part of its mobile arsenal: smartphone and tablet versions of its Galaxy Note series and a much-anticipated smart watch marking the company's biggest step into the wearable computing segment.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 was at the center of much of Wednesday's action, with the South Korean giant noting a redesign for the device, as well as a number of new features. The new Note sports a layer of faux leather on the back side, but on the whole it retains the plastic construction that has come to typify Samsung's devices.
The Note 3 is slimmer than its predecessors, and lighter as well. By reducing the bezels, Samsung has given the device a 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display without having to increase the footprint of the handset. The new Note is also thinner and lighter than the Note 2, but with more powerful specs all around.
Inside, the Note 3 will have 3GB of RAM paired with either a 2.3GHz quad-core processor or a 1.9GHz quad-core processor for the 3G model. It will also pack a 13MP camera capable of recording in 4K at 30fps. Powering its internals will be a 3200mAh lithium-ion battery, which Samsung says will give it significantly improved life over the already long-lasting Note 2. Notably, the device does not feature a fingerprint sensor as was proposed in earlier reports.
The Note series emerged two years ago and went on to become a surprise hit for Samsung, with the last two models selling tens of millions of units. This despite initial confusion from tech commentators over the devices' considerable size.
Much of Samsung's real focus on Wednesday, though, appeared to be on the unveiling of the Galaxy Gear, which the company had already confirmed it would show off at IFA. The device shown on stage looked noticeably different from the images of a prototype device leaked earlier this week, with the final model featuring smoother lines and apparently higher quality materials.
The new smart watch features a metal face and buckle, a departure from Samsung's usual reliance on plastic. The wrist bands on the device are adjustable and come in an array of colors.
Inside, Gear has 4GB of storage to store pictures and other content, including apps, of which Samsung says there are more than 70 for the device. Samsung says the watch has a 315mAh battery that will last for more than 25 hours on a charge.
The device has a number of other features, including a built-in camera with a 1.9MP resolution. It also has a built-in speaker allowing users to conduct hands-free calls and to draft messages and memos using Samsung's S Voice assistant. According to Samsung, these actions can be performed without touching the screen.
Many tech observers turned to Samsung's presentation looking to see what the electronics giant would reveal as its first big wearable device release. The wearable technology segment is expected to heat up over the next year, with Apple, Google, and many others reportedly looking to develop smart watches for release.
Finally, the South Korean conglomerate released a larger tablet in the Galaxy Note line, the 2014 edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1. The new tablet sports the same design aesthetic as does the Note 3, but with a WQXGA LCD outputting at 2560x1600.
Inside, the Note 10.1 has 3GB of RAM, a 1.9GHz Octa-core or 2.3GHz processor depending on the version, and up to 64GB of internal memory. It also has almost all of the functionality of the Note 3, including a multitasking feature, new actions and capabilities for the S Pen stylus, and Samsung's Knox security software.
The Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear will go on sale in the coming weeks in the United States and a number of other markets. When it debuts in early October, the Galaxy Gear will retail for $299. Pricing for the Galaxy Note 3 has not been revealed yet, but it will be available globally on September 25. Samsung has given little information on the Galaxy Note 10.1's availability save to say that it will be offered globally beginning in the third quarter.
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