Mobile World Congress 2013 only officially kicks off tomorrow, but as per usual there's already been plenty of action over the weekend as the world's mobile superpowers battle for an early share of the spotlight.
First up is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, the latest attempt by the smartphone market leader at translating some of that success to the tablet market.
Well maybe we're smoking the wrong stuff, but the final design looks pretty much identical to the mockup, with a generous bezel around the 8in display that's substantial without quite being chunky. The Galaxy Note 8.0 is slender, however, a full 25% thinner than the Galaxy Note 10.1 (though being a generation on, and having a smaller display, that's hardly an earth-shattering claim).
The display itself is a 1,280 x 800 TFT, while on the inside there's a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage plus a microSDXC slot. Not bad.
Being a “Note” product, there's an S-Pen stylus included plus a suite of apps for getting the most out of it.
Two more significant points to be aware of: first, the Galaxy Note 8.0 has a massive 4,600mAh of battery juice, and second, it's launching first in 3G form, with a Wi-Fi-only variant coming later – if anything it's normally the other way around.
Interestingly, Samsung's phone app is pre-installed to take advantage of the HSPA+21 support. That's right – the Galaxy Note 8.0 is in fact that ultimate “phablet”.
Samsung is making a big deal of the various software and services that are debuting with the Galaxy Note 8.0, and is pushing the stylus-equipped slate as being an ideal business tool as well as a consumer-friendly device.
The ability to run multiple apps in different windows on screen is one such utility, as is the inclusion of Samsung's SAFE security measures.
There's also Reader's Mode, which mimics your favourite eReader by tweaking the screen brightness and contrast to make the Galaxy Note 8.0 more suited to reading plain text, reducing battery consumption in the process.
It all adds up to a highly versatile product that seems very much a positive compromise between the full-size Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Galaxy Note II phablet.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 will be landing sometime in Q2 with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on board.
There's no indication yet on price, but considering the most popular Android tablets recently have also been significantly cheap, it'll be interesting to see how much of a premium Samsung thinks the Galaxy Note 8.0's versatility is worth.