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Is pen-based computing finally poised to go mainstream?

That’s one of the more intriguing questions raised by Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. The company’s mobile division announced this morning that the new Android-based device will be available later this month, building on the earlier launch of its 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note phone.

Pricing wasn’t officially announced, but an earlier leak on Amazon put the starting price at $549.

In a larger sense, the question is whether a critical mass of people will want to use tablets for creativity and productivity, vs. content consumption.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 release will attempt to compete more effectively against the iPad and Android tablets. The Redmond company’s upcoming Surface computer uses a stylus as one form of input. It’s part of a broader push by the company to revive pen-based input.

Here’s a look at how Samsung sees pens being used in its Galaxy Note 10.1.

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