Samsung Electronics is increasing its tablet range with a new competitor for Apple’s famous iPad Mini.
The new Galaxy Tab 8.0 will sport an 8 inch screen putting it very close to the iPad Mini which released in November with a 7.9′ screen. The Galaxy Tab 8 is not the first iPad competitor in the Mini’s size range, it’s the first time that Samsung has made a tablet of the Mini’s size that includes a pen.
Samsung will start selling the new tablet in the April to June period, at an as yet undetermined price. It made the announcement ahead of Mobile World Congress, the wireless industry’s annual trade show, which starts Monday in Barcelona, Spain.
With the Galaxy Tab 8.0, Samsung fills a gap in its line-up of pen-equipped devices between the Galaxy Note II smartphone, with its 5.5-inch screen, and the Galaxy Note 10.1, a full-size tablet. Samsung has made the pen, or more properly the stylus that they have named S pen, one of the tools it uses to chip away at Apple’s dominance in both tablets and high-end smartphones. Apple doesn’t make any devices that work with styluses, preferring to optimize its interfaces for fingers, mice and touchpads.
On Samsung’s Note line, the pens can be used to write, highlight and draw. The screens also sense when the mouse hovers over the screen, providing an equivalent to the hovering mouse cursor on the PC. However, few third-party applications have been modified to take full advantage of the pens.
The Galaxy Note 8 will ship with Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), with Samsung’s ever-present TouchWiz UI over it. While in most international markets the Note 8 will include 3G (HSPA+ 21) capability, in the U.S. it’ll strictly be a Wi-fi-only tablet.