Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 | 9:18 p.m.
Smartphones burst onto the consumer electronics scene several years ago, and were followed shortly after by the growth of the tablet computer.
The continued rise of both devices is on full display at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show, and the line separating what makes a smartphone and what makes a tablet is beginning to blur as phones get bigger and tablets get smaller.
Nowhere is this evolution more pronounced than at the Samsung booth, where the company has launched an all-out media blitz promoting its new Samsung Galaxy Note. Images of the Galaxy Note can be seen throughout the convention, including on the buses that shuttle attendees back and forth between the Venetian and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
At just over 5 inches across diagonally, the Galaxy Note is larger than most smartphones, but smaller than traditional tablets, which usually measure 7 or 10 inches across. Powered by Google’s Android operating system, the Galaxy Note still fits into pockets on most pants and also has the ability to make phone calls.
But it comes with a stylus and new handwriting recognition technology that aim to make the device easy for taking notes and place it at the core of a user’s mobile computing experience.
“We’re trying to target people who use smartphones and are thinking about getting a tablet, but don’t necessarily want to commit to spending that much money,” said Samsung representative Kris Parris. “(With the Galaxy Note), you can save some money and not have to carry two devices.”
Across the CES convention space, dozens of models of smartphones and tablets were on display from a variety of manufacturers. Most follow a similar slate-style form factor, so device makers used screen resolution, internal processing power and user interface to differentiate their products from their competitors.
At Verizon Wireless’ booth, an 8-inch and a 10-inch model of the Motorola’s Droid XYBoard tablet were available for hands-on demonstration. The tablets, also powered by Android, feature a water-repellent coating and dual core processors.
Nearby, Blackberry maker Research in Motion is aiming to make a splash with its new Playbook 2, which features upgraded software and an improved user experience.
Microsoft is also looking to increase its presence in the mobile market, both with its new Windows 8 operating system that is optimized for tablets, and with its Windows Phones.
Phone manufacturer Nokia, which has partnered with Microsoft, had several new Windows Phones on display, including the Nokia Lumia 900, the first Windows device that runs on the superfast 4G LTE network.