Samsung Announces an iPad Mini-Sized Galaxy Note

Samsung rounds out its pen-equipped tablet line with a new medium-sized model.

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I’m not at the massive Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, but I’m monitoring news from the show — and there’s going to be a lot of it over the next few days.

One of the first major announcements is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. Its arrival makes clear that the company’s Note line is, indeed a line: with its 8″ screen, the Note 8.0 sits between the Galaxy Note II, a 5.5″ mega-phone, and the Galaxy Note 10.1, a full-sized tablet. The new model’s screen size also makes it possibly the most direct competitor to Apple’s iPad Mini, which has a display that’s just a skosh smaller at 7.9″. (The Note’s resolution of 1280-by-800 beats the Mini’s 1024-by-768.)

As with the other Notes, the Note 8.0 emphasizes productivity. It’s got a pressure-sensitive pen based on Wacom’s technology, software which takes advantage of it (including both Samsung apps such as the S Note notetaker and a custom version of Flipboard) and other Android tweaks such as Samsung’s unique two-apps-at-once feature.

What Samsung is showing in Barcelona is an international version, with HSPA+ wireless, which can also be used as a ridiculously large phone; it’s due in the second quarter of this year. There will be Wi-Fi-only and LTE versions for the U.S.; no details yet on how much they’ll cost or which carriers will have the LTE variant.

Engadget’s Joseph Volpe, who is at Mobile World Congress, has a hands-on look with more details.