The Note comes on the heels of Samsung’s campaign touting its Galaxy S III phone as its “next big thing.” The Note is even bigger, with a 5.5 inch screen, compared with the S III’s 4.8 inches and the iPhone 5’s 4 inches, all measured diagonally.
The Note runs the latest version of Google’s Android system, Jelly Bean.
Google, meanwhile, announced a small update to Jelly Bean and said it will be included with its Nexus 4 smartphone out next month.
_ TABLET RIVALS
Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire is one of the smaller tablets with decent sales. Last month, it started shipping an updated version with a faster processor, more memory and longer battery life. It also cut the price to $159, from $199, making it far cheaper than the iPad, which starts at $399.
Amazon is also releasing higher-end models under the Kindle Fire HD line. A 7-inch one goes for $199 and an 8.9-inch one for $299. There’s also a $499 model that can use the 4G cellular networks that phone companies have been building. A data plan will cost an extra $50 a year. The smaller HD model is already available, while the larger ones will be available Nov. 20.
Barnes and Noble Inc. is also updating its Nook tablets. The new Nook HD will come in two sizes, one at 7 inches (starting at $199) and one at 9 inches (starting at $269). They will be out Thursday.
In addition to the new HD screen and a lighter body, Barnes & Noble is increasing the services the Nook offers. It’s adding a video purchase and rental service, allowing users to maintain different profiles and making it easier to browse titles in its book and magazine stores.
Google, meanwhile, is introducing a 10-inch Nexus tablet starting at $399, $100 less than comparable versions of the latest iPads. It is doubling the storage capacity of existing 7-inch models and introducing a version capable of accessing cellular networks. The new Nexus 7 is available now, while the other devices are coming Nov. 13.
_ CALLING ON WINDOWS
Microsoft Corp. released a new version of the Windows operating system on Friday, one that’s designed to work on both traditional computers and tablet devices. Desktops, laptops and tablet computers with Windows 8 started going on sale Friday.
Microsoft also released its own tablet computer, the Surface. It’s new territory for Microsoft, which typically leaves it to others to make devices using its software. Now, it will be competing against its partners.
One model will run on the same type of lower-energy chips used in the iPad. It will start at $499, also like the newest, full-sized iPads. A keyboard cover will cost another $100. Sales started Friday.
A heavier, more expensive version will run on Intel chips and be capable of running standard Windows applications. Microsoft hasn’t announced the date or price for that yet.
A new version of the Windows Phone system is coming out this fall as well. Once-dominant phone maker Nokia Corp. has been struggling in the shadow of Apple and Android, and it’s counting on the new Windows system for a revival. Nokia, Samsung and HTC are launching eight Windows Phone 8 smartphones combined by year’s end, starting this weekend overseas and later in November in the U.S.View Entire Story
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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