All of the features that you saw in the Galaxy Note II have pretty well translated their way over to this larger screen, including the “hovering” S Pen “Air View” functionality, hand writing integration, and so on, as well as Samsung AllShare Play, AllShare Cast and AllShare Framework. The usual assortment of Samsung Apps are here as well, riding on top of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
The core specs include the 1.6GHz Coretx-A9 quad core processor, 1280 x 800 pixel 8-inch touchscreen display, 5MP rear camera, and 1.3MP front camera. For Canada, they have confirmed that the Wi-Fi version of the Galaxy Note 8.0 will launch likely in the second quarter of this year, but they have not yet decided on pricing. It is also unclear whether there will be an LTE model and, if so, whether it will support voice like some of the international versions being planned. Fro now, we’ll just have to sit tight and see how the Note 8.0 prepares to stack up against the iPad mini and other tablets in this size.
The other major announcement was the expansion of Samsung’s enterprise-ready security measures from last year (SAFE = Samsung For Enterprise) with the arrival of KNOX. This is meant to address the growing BYOD (bring your own device) trend in the enterprise market. More and more companies are letting their employees use whatever smartphone they want, but they still need to implement access to VPN, they still want to secure the data, and they still want employees to have synchronized corporate contacts and calendars. KNOX and SAFE work to achieve that.
The interesting thing with KNOX is that it effectively works as a self-contained app. When an employee opens KNOX, it’s like opening an entirely separate user login on the phone, complete with new wallpaper, new contacts, new calendar, and new apps. Everything within the KNOX container is accessible by the IT department of a company, just as they would if they issued the device themselves. That’s great for security and it’s great for corporate data management.
What’s interesting is that everything outside of the KNOX container is just like it would be on a regular Samsung Android smartphone. This effectively separate work from play. If you take pictures using the camera outside of KNOX, those stay in your personal files, outside of the jurisdiction and prying eyes of your company’s IT people. All the data within KNOX is then encrypted, including stuff stored on the SD card. Samsung plans on rolling out KNOX this year on future devices, but it’s unclear whether they’ll make it backwards compatible to existing devices.