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Android 3.2

Here it is, official as official gets: Samsung just announced the Galaxy Tab 7.7. As the name suggests, it has a 7.7-inch (1280 x 800) display – specifically, a Super AMOLED Plus panel. Like so many other 7-inchers hitting the market, it runs Android 3.2 and yes, that’s a skinned flavor of Honeycomb, with Samsung’s tablet-optimized TouchWiz UX layered on top. Inside, it runs the same Samsung-made dual-core 1.4GHz processor found in the new Galaxy Note, along with an HSPA+ radio promising theoretical download speeds as high as 21Mbps. Other specs for the 0.74-pound (335-gram) tablet include 16GB to 64GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, a 5,100mAh battery rated for 10 hours, 802.11n WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and dual 3MP and 2MP cameras. In a nutshell, it’s the in-between-sized do-over a lot of folks have been awaiting since the original Galaxy Tab grew stale – a slate that promises faster speeds and some seriously improved viewing angles. We’ll be the judge of that in our review, but in the meantime stay tuned for some early hands-on impressions.

Until a few days ago we’d heard surprisingly little about the Galaxy Note, a handset rumored to be launching alongside the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Wave 3 at IFA. It’s ironic, really, because of all the phones to have kept a low profile, this is a memorable one. Behold, a 5.3-inch handset with a stowaway pen for note-taking, drawing and grabbing screen captures. In other words, a Dell Streak-esque hunk of a device that blurs the lines between phone and tablet. You’re looking at a Gingerbread-running LTE and HSPA+ handset with a 1280 x 800 Super AMOLED display, dual 8MP and 2MP cameras, a removable 2,500mAh battery and the same Samsung-made dual-core 1.4GHz processor you’ll find in the just-announced Galaxy Tab 7.7. For a phone this gargantuan, it’s actually quite thin at light, at 9.65mm (0.38 inches) thick and a reasonable 178 grams (6.3 ounces). We had a few minutes to handle the phone in advance of today’s press conference, and found it surprisingly easy to grip, even in our small hands. As with the Infuse 4G -whose own 4.5-inch screen once seemed impossibly sprawling – the thin shape makes it tenable, as does the lightweight, textured plastic lining the back.

As you’d expect, Android 2.3 comes layered with TouchWiz on top and, in this case, seven home screens and a touch-optimized interface dubbed “S Pen” designed to take advantage of that pen. These include S Planner, a native calendar and to-do list app, from which you can drag and drop appointments, changing time slots without having to open an entry. S Memo for note-taking, meanwhile, accepts voice, photo, text and handwritten input. We also got a quick glimpse of Virtual Whiteboard, a more collaborative form of note-taking. On top of that, Samsung says it’s releasing the S Pen SDK to third-party developers, and the company’s banking on more apps for organizing photos and drawing, among other things. For now, this is merely a global launch: Samsung says it’s still in discussions with carriers worldwide, so depending on your neck of the woods it might be awhile before you hear anything definitive about pricing or availability. Find the some fancy press shots (and a promo vid) after the break, and stay tuned for our hands-on.