Amid new Android device announcements, my attention keeps returning to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. US carriers are readying the 5.5-inch smartphone for sale soon and it’s becoming clear to me that new owners will likely spend a few weeks learning all of the features and functions found in this handset. Not only are there numerous Samsung additions to Android but the digital S-Pen is impressing me more and more.
The digital pen actually wasn’t part of my Galaxy Note 2 purchase decision at all. However, it’s handy in certain situations and there are more use cases than I initially imagined. Earlier this week, I shared several of the S-Pen features thanks to a Samsung post filled with example uses. Some functions are just a pen-friendly way to do something that’s often easier done in a standard method, but others are pen-specific or best done with the small stylus.
For example, I find a simple web search done via voice in Google Now, which is just a tap and hold of the Menu button on the Galaxy Note 2. To do the same with the pen requires an S-Pen button press, swipe up the screen and inking of a question mark followed by the search information: Not something I’d do often. But to clip a part of a screen, jot down a note or select a block of text? All are made easy with the pen and this type of functionality could help drive sales.
Hoping to also cash in on the small slate market is Acer, which introduced a new 7-inch tablet this week. The Iconia Tab A110 is a 7-incher like most others in this market and costs $230. That price sounds reasonable, but I’m disappointed that Acer chose a 1024 x 600 resolution screen when cheaper competitors are using better displays that look clearer. Given that everything happens on the screen of a tablet — input, output, etc… — it’s one of the most important features as it’s the most used. Still, the new A110 has one benefit over the Nexus 7: It supports HDMI out so you can connect the tablet to bigger, better screen.