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iPad challenger

SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung Electronics is taking another shot at the dominance of Apple's iPad with a tablet equipped with a digital pen and a faster processor at the same price.

The Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 goes on sale in the United States today. The price starts at $499 for the basic model with 16 gigabytes of storage and $549 for the 32-gigabyte model, expandable with an external memory card.

Apple's latest iPad starts at the same price, but the Note 10.1 offers some features that the iPad doesn't have, although its screen resolution is lower than the iPad's. It is Samsung's first Android tablet equipped with a digital pen and can run two applications side-by-side on a screen divided in half.

The split screen, made possible by the quad-core processor and 2 gigabytes of RAM, can be useful when taking notes while watching a video or surfing the Internet.

Analysts said this capability of the Note tablet is intended to attract business and education customers, a strategy that could be more effective than going all out against the iPad, which already dominates nearly 70 percent of the worldwide tablet market.

Samsung has improved the pressure-sensitive pen to make it feel more natural and accurate since the "S Pen" digital pen was introduced with the Galaxy Note last year. The unexpected success of the 5.3-inch hybrid of a smartphone and a tablet emboldened Samsung to further explore the digital pen features.

There are also about 30 applications for sketching and note taking as well as Adobe Photoshop Touch and games where S Pen comes in handier than touching the screen. Samsung plans to expand the list of applications that support multitasking, which is currently limited to six, an official said.

The updated S Note app can recognize handwritten math formulas, geometric shapes, English alphabets and Chinese characters, allowing the digital pen to function as an input device in the absence of a physical keyboard.

"The S Pen offers both active content creation as well as passive content consumption," said Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America.

iPad challenger 08/15/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:40am]

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