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Android this week: Samsung Galaxy Note; 4-Core Transformer Prime; Fire and Nook

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Although a few new Android(s goog) devices were introduced this week, my attention turned towards one that was announced in September. The Samsung Galaxy Note still isn’t available in the U.S., but consumers in Europe are enjoying the Android device and its 5.3-inch high-definition screen. Could the Galaxy Note work out as a true compromise and take the place of both a smartphone and a tablet?

Steve Paine, founder of the Carrypad enthusiast site, spent three hours with a Galaxy Note and thinks it can do just that, saying “Although I still think it’s risky (and battery-draining) to put all your eggs in one basket, I’d certainly be happy to take a Galaxy Note and to hand over my Nokia N8 and Galaxy Tab. I’d miss the N8’s camera for sure and wouldn’t find the Note as comfortable to type on, but I think I’d get over it, especially as I’d be getting a phone and a tablet for around €520. ($707.15 USD)”

I fall into the same category as Paine. Often, when leaving home, I’ll carry a 7-inch Galaxy Tab in addition to whatever smartphone I’m using that day. Why? I prefer to use the largest screen possible to maximize my mobile experience. And with a small tablet, it’s not a problem to take phone calls with a wired or wireless headset.

That doesn’t mean I carry a 17-inch laptop everywhere I go: For mobile use, the device size and battery life are two other important points, and I find the 7-inch Android-powered Galaxy Tab to meet those requirements best. Then again, a 5.3-inch slab of Android with voice, web and application capabilities could be even better. For now, I’ll have to rely on Paine’s impressions of the device which may improve after the Galaxy Note gains Android 4.0 sometime next year.

Before the end of this year, however, Asus will begin selling its Transformer Prime tablet that works like a laptop with an optional keyboard base. The Android 3.2 slate is improved over the prior model by the inclusion of Nvidia’s(s nvda) Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip (SOC), which bumps the processing cores from two to four. The silicon also includes a fifth computing core for low-powered tasks and a dozen graphics cores for hours of high-definition playback and gaming. And soon after launch, if not in conjunction with it, the Transformer Prime should see a software upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Then there’s the “other” Android tablets, depending on your point of view. Some don’t consider Amazon’s(s amzn) Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble’s(s bks) new Nook Tablet to be true Android devices. These both use Google’s mobile operating system, but are heavily customized to hide Android. Yet each can browse the web, check mail, and run standard Android applications from their respective application stores, which are curated by the two companies.

The Fire may be seeing a greater number of pre-orders, but the Nook Tablet may actually set the standard for low cost, capable tablets. I noticed that many of the Nook’s hardware specifications rival those of Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus: similar CPU, storage capacity, connectivity options and display. Yet the Nook Color is $249 while Samsung’s new slate is fetching $399 for the Wi-Fi edition. My hope is that other Android tablet makers take notice and find ways to bring capable tablets to the market at more reasonable prices.

13 Responses to “Android this week: Samsung Galaxy Note; 4-Core Transformer Prime; Fire and Nook”

  1. OneJobEveryMinute_UK

    This is a fantastic tablet! I will definitely upgrade from my current transformer, altough I wait for the 3G version.

    Before that I try to win it on its forum:

    This seems to be a good community…

    • Michael Anderson

      … and come with a higher price. Hasn’t the abysmal failure of Android Tablets (don’t believe the 25% numbers for a second – half of those are sitting gathering dust on shelves) taught folks anything? The average consumer doesn’t like the ‘spec wars’ … they just want something that will work for them.

  2. I’m a bit ignorant of the capabilities of some of these tablets. I do have a smart phone (nexus s) but the phone is the least important part to me. I would gladly have a larger screen.
    Can tablet a tablet like the new samsung tab with the 7 inch screen not receive phone calls? Can they get cell numbers and then you just use a head set? I think maybe we’re missing a small piece in this equation. I’ve seen a watch that acts as a mini interface into the phone. That philosophy seems right up the alley of having your tablet as you phone and tablet combination. The little watch interface would be used for contacts selection and such. If that ever shows it’s head I’m all over it.

    • Talderson, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab units actually do have cellular voice capabilities. Here in the U.S., Samsung strips that functionality out, per the carrier’s request, since they’d rather sell you plans for a phone and a tablet. :(

      • Same feeling here. I would LOVE to replace my phone (size isn’t and issue for me since I don’t pocket carry, it’d go in my purse just fine) with a Galaxy Tab 7, but I refuse to participate in the ridiculous stripping of features that the companies are doing in an effort to make consumers think they need to buy and pay for service on two separate devices. The “nice people” at Verizon went so far as to tell me that they were not aware of any built in phone capabilities on it! *sigh*
        For now I’ll be waiting for the Galaxy Note and then likely jump ship from Verizon to AT&T. Unless Verizon suddenly changes its policy on this issue.