The 10.1-inch Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet too big? The 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2 too small to be your tablet but too big to be your phone?

The Galaxy Note 8.0 might be just right. Or at least that’s what Samsung is hoping. The company has announced its new 8-inch, Android tablet today at Mobile World Congress, a large mobile tradeshow in Barcelona, and it hopes its new software features and the portable size will make it standout, especially against Apple’s iPad Mini.

First, let’s take a quick look at the specifications: the Galaxy Note 8.0 will be powered by a quad-core processor (unknown model at this point), which we bet is a Samsung Exynos chip with four Cortex A9 CPUs and 2GB of RAM. The display is an 8-inch 1280×800 (189 ppi or pixels-per-inch), which is the same resolution than the Galaxy Note 10.1, but in a smaller form-factor, so the pixel density is effectively higher. Android 4.1.2 is the operating system of choice here, and we expect most of it to look like what is on the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note 10.1, but Samsung has added new content and services (more on that later).

The Note 8.0 will come in WiFi-only (A/B/G/N) or WiFi/HSPA+ versions (the carrier can decide to allow cellular phone calls…), and the latter will have GPS services from both the GPS and Glonass networks. Finally, we have confirmed that this S-Pen supports 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, just like the Galaxy Note 10.1, so we think that this is the same type of Wacom digitizer. The last highlight is the battery capacity, which stands at 4600 mAh. We’ve added more specs at the bottom of the article…

The Galaxy Note 8.0 will compete with other small tablets like the iPad mini, the Kindle Fire HD or the Nexus 7. It has the advantage of being the only major one that comes with a digitizer pen (The Surface Pro isn’t in the same category), which remains a very rare feature in the Android tablet world. This is enough differentiation to truly insulate the Note 8 from any real competition, if the end-user cares about a good pen experience.

User Interface, Content and Services

Although the Galaxy Note 8.0 is a cousin of the Galaxy Note 2 smartphone, it is fair to say that the sheer increase in size can alter the usage model significantly. For instance, the multi-window (split-screen) feature would become much more useful, since details in a sub-window are much more readable. Obviously, the writing experience is magnified by the increased surface. Although we can write on post-its, it’s fair to say that we all like using pens on a big surface.

To supplement its traditional S-Note application, Samsung is adding Awesome Note, a new app that this more suited to intensive note-taking while S-Note was more for casual, if not artistic, notes and drawings.

Of course, Samsung continues to be committed to its tablets use at home, which means that the Galaxy Note 8.0 can also be used as a high-tech universal remote, thanks to Smart Remote which merges TV remote and TV Guide in one place.