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Samsung unveils new Android

SAMSUNG has unveiled new Android and Windows-powered touchscreen devices at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

The new models include several firsts for the company: a Windows RT tablet; a Windows Phone 8 smartphone; and an Android-powered camera.

It also revealed an update to its Galaxy Note model — a so-called “phablet” that is larger than most phones, but smaller than most tablets.
The products are its first since losing a patent lawsuit to Apple in the US.

The South Korean firm faces paying its rival over US$1 billion in damages related to several of its Android models, but has signalled it will challenge the ruling.

Samsung’s new line-up includes a 25,7cm touchscreen tablet which uses an ARM-based chip and the RT version of Windows 8.

It also revealed Intel-based models that are more powerful and run the full version of the system. The devices, which are branded as Slate or Ativ Smart PCs depending on where they are sold, function as hybrids — working either as standalone tablets or as laptops when added to keyboard docks.

They update its 2011 Slate models and follow a similar format to Asus’s Transformer hybrids.

In addition Samsung showed off the Ativ S — its first smartphone to run Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 Phone system. It features a 12,2cm display, making it one of the bigger models on the market.

There was only one Android-tablet announcement — the Galaxy Note 2. The device features a 14cm screen, is narrower and taller than its predecessor.

It also features a new Air View function. When a stylus is held about 1cm above its display, previews are triggered of on-screen objects such as the contents of a photo album or an email.
The news follows on from a recent announcement of another, larger Android tablet — the Galaxy Note 10,1.

Samsung’s other announcement was the Galaxy Camera.

The device is the second mainstream compact camera powered by Android to be announced in a week, following on from a release by Nikon.

It marks a new category of devices to use Google’s system, offering the opportunity to install photo editing apps and other third-party software on the machines.

Samsung’s model includes the option of using 3G or 4G data connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi, making it easier to upload pictures to social networks.

It can send live images to a smartphone — allowing the handset to be used as a viewfinder if the person taking the shot also wants to appear in it — and can also be controlled by voice.

“One of the big reasons the compact camera market is struggling is that people value sharing their images and doing things to them, more than they do having a picture with better picture quality,” Stuart Miles, founder of the Pocket-lint gadget site, said.

“Devices like Samsung and Nikon’s models capitalise on this and offer people the best of both worlds — apps and a better lens —in a device they will probably not mind being bulkier than a smartphone.”

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