When the last video showing Galaxy Note 10.1 features popped up, I pointed out that some of the features can be found in iPad apps. I’ve been using the iPad for education-related note taking since before Apple put its might behind marketing it as an education device through iBooks, and while I prefer Android for a lot of things, the simple fact that it lacks most of the features found in the apps I’ve been using means that it’s a no go.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 might just change that, as the more I see of the device, the more features I recognize from iPad apps I’ve been using. I’m not complaining, since I very much want Android to be able to compete with iOS in that specific area, but at the same time I can’t help myself but to point out which apps Samsung has copied, with or without realizing it.
The first feature shown off in this new video (embedded above) is the split screen mode that was also in the last video. Both Taposé and Notes Plus have split screen functionality on iOS, and there’s a jailbreak tweak that adds floating windows. It seems like it’s Samsung’s own apps that will run in windowed mode on the Note 10.1, so feature wise I expect that feature to be very similar to what you have in the two apps mentioned.
The second feature, adding video content to a note taking app, is a minor feature in that it’s referring to outside media and isn’t that hard to implement. As such, you’ll find it in multiple apps, like Taposé, and similar functionality for audio is even more common.
About 1:50 into the video, shape detection and handwriting recognition is shown off. This is available in Notes Plus, and I know from experience that it works pretty well. Formula match has me intrigued though, and I’m not currently aware of that feature being in any iOS apps. Don’t take that as it not being available though, as I haven’t had a use for it and as such haven’t looked for it.
About 2:40 in, a feature that record drawings is shown off. ReplayNote on the iPad is very similar, allowing you to draw or write on a virtual note pad, as well as comment on it in real time using your voice, and then upload the entire thing to YouTube. I’ve used it to explain math to people on a few occasions, and it’s great.
In the education bit starting around 3:15, annotating textbooks is shown off. PDF annotation is something I have a lot of experience with, and it’s one of the things I’m still trying to find a good Android app for doing. On iOS, Goodnotes is the app I currently prefer, but there are literally dozens. Samsung’s textbooks seem to be specially made though, similar to how it works for iBooks, but personally I still prefer a good old PDF file that I have full control over.
Photo editing needs no explanation, as there are more apps for that on either platform to last a lifetime.
It might seem like I’m saying that you might as well get an iPad over the Note 10.1, but that’s not the case. The Note 10.1 is the first Android tablet that can truly compete with the iPad for certain types of note taking, and that’s thanks to the software that ships with it as much as it is the S Pen, which will obviously make pen input more accurate. I’m glad Samsung is putting as much thought into this device as it seems that it is, but at the same time, I’m also concerned that this comes as stock software. I generally prefer apps made by third parties, who have reasons to upgrade the apps and keep innovating beyond the first release.
As for the Note 10.1, it should be out later this month. I’m tempted to get one, but it would mean getting rid of both my iPad and my other Android tablet (both due to cost and practicality), and I’m not sure I’m willing to do that. I’m glad that I finally have the opportunity to choose though, at least if these videos from Samsung don’t turn out to be too far from the truth.