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If any Apple Australia executive had happened to stumble on the Samsung event taking place in Sydney last night, they would have gotten a taste of why the big Korean Company is kicking Apple’s arse big time.Amid thunderous surround sound and swirls of dry-ice induced smoke – not seen in new IT product launches since the first Mac in 1984, Samsung Australia last night launched its Note II “phablet” – a half-phone, half-tablet device that can also be used for a multitude of other activities.

The glittering event took place, suitably enough, at the Fox Studios estate on the site of the old Sydney showgrounds and was attended by close to 500 journos, bloggers and various others. Ad-man Todd Sampson of Leo Burnett – and undoubted star of ABC-TV’s must-watch Gruen Planet TV show – worked the stage effectively as compere/interlocuter.

The Note II is “an amazing product”, Todd told the crowd, and as well he might if Leo Burnett wants to hang on to the Samsung account. (It does).

Samsung also rolled out a Camera powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It comes with a Quad Core processor that does all the lifting work a new auto upload feature saves photos directly to the cloud as you take them

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It also has a 21x 4-86mm optical zoom lens. The large rear screen is 100% glass which allows you to get the same crystal clear pics for close and zoom shots. There’s a, quad-core processor, a 16.3-megapixel 1/2.3in CMOS sensor and 23mm aperture lens promising impressive wide-angle as well as mid-distance shots.

The 4.8-inch HD display on the back panel lets you browse the Web as well as display photos and movies in wide-screen. Some controls can be activated by voice commands.

As for the star of the show the new Note has a 5.5-inch display in place of the original’s 5-incher, but fits it into a similar sized, apart from being thinner, casing. That’s good design Jony Ive would be proud of. And the 16:9 screen ratio ensures excellent video and movie watching.

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There was no Steve Jobs standing in a US Theatre with Australian media left to email press handouts and a barrage of no comment from a bunch of Apple Australia staff whose claim to fame is their understanding of arrogance.

Last night the Australian media was given a spectacular show with new generation technology oozing from the screen followed by hands on demonstrations.

Packed into the new range of Samsung products rolled out last night were features that will excite consumers.

Multi-tasking, too

With the new Note, there is a stylus (Samsung prefers to call it the “S Pen”), but even the late Steve Jobs, who poured scorn on the stylii concept, might have been tempted to give this one a whirl.

You can write notes in surprising places – on the “back” of a photo, for instance; design simple or industrial-strength products with Autodesk’s Sketchpad software; or use Samsung’s Airview technology to hover the S Pen over an e-mail or other document to get a preview of its contents.

There’s also multi-tasking, enabling you to not only run several apps at once but to display both simultaneously by splitting that 5.5in screen. And, yes, you can use it to make a phone call, and – no – you don’t look particularly silly holding a 5.5-inch screen to your ear.

The Note II is powered a 1.6GHz Samsung Exynos quad-core processor and connects to Australia’s 4G as well as 3G networks. Operating system is Android 4.1, aka Jelly Bean and there’s 16GB of internal memory.

The Note II will be available next week through the usual suspects – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – as well as Samsung’s online store. Outright price is $899.

Tyler McGee – Vice President of Samsung also presented a new range of ATIV Smart PC products that combine the power of a PC with a tablet. They devices shown last night were stylish and impressive with the unique and revolutionary design set to hurt Apple Mac sales.

A detachable magnetic keyboard immediately turns the device into a tablet and if you need a keyboard you just plug it back into the tablet.

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McGee also revealed a  Windows RT tablet which is 8.9mm thin and just 570g it comes with Microsoft Office pre-installed  right out of the box allowing users to have access to the  – pure MS Office environment and the full range of MS Office applications.

Samsung is also making a pitch for the enterprise market with a new range of PCs that allow power users to create, connect and collaborate.

In what could have been a line out of a Steve Jobs presentation McGee claimed what Samsung was doing today was creating simple, powerful and beautiful products.

He said Samsung now had 24 R&D centres and 6 design centres that were working hard to deliver the next generation of technology.

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