Over the past few years, tech giants Apple and Google have emerged as dominant forces in the mobile-technology market. Although they’ve pursued radically different strategies, each company has been wildly successful: Apple generates $1 billion per month on iPhone sales, while Google’s Android operating system has racked up massive global market-share gains. Now, both companies face a rising threat from South Korean electronics titan Samsung, which has surged to become the largest handsetmaker in the world. Samsung appears poised to intensify competition in the mobile space, and that could benefit consumers.
Beginning with the hardware, Samsung chose an interesting design for its latest slate. Imagine a Galaxy S III that has been flattened with a steam roller and that’s exactly what the Note 8.0 looks like. The tablet’s 8-inch 800 x 1,280-pixel display is surrounded on all sides by a white plastic bezel and an oblong home button sits beneath the display. The Note 8.0′s pixel density works out to 189 ppi, besting Apple’s iPad mini (163 ppi) until the second-generation model launches later this year. In terms of quality, the TFT display on the Note 8.0 is nothing like the Super AMOLED displays that Samsung’s mobile devices are famous...