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Both Apple and Samsung are hard at work tackling the next big innovation in tablets: higher resolution screens that can match the pixel fidelity of the iPhone 4’s Retina Display.

And both companies are apparently gearing up to show off their new high-res tablets in February, according to rumors from Boy Genius Report and Citi analyst Richard Gardner.

That timing makes a certain amount of sense for Apple: The iPad 2 was announced this past March, and the original iPad was introduced in late January 2010 and made available for pre-order in March 2010. Samsung released its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 in June, so it’s feasible the company will have something new to show off come February.

A “trusted source” tells BGR that the new Samsung slate will feature an 11.6-inch screen with a massive 2560 by 1600 resolution. In comparison, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sports a 1280 by 800 display (which allows it to support 720p high-definition video), while the iPad 2 features a measly 1024 by 768 resolution. The more pixels, the better — that’s why the iPhone 4 and 4S screens look so much better than most other phones.

While the screen is bigger, Samsung’s source says the new tablet won’t feel that much bigger than the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It’s said to be powered by a dual-core 2 gigahertz and Android 4.0. BGR believes it will be announced at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which begins on February 27.

Less is known about the next iPad, which will likely be called the iPad 3. Gardner notes that it’ll feature a screen with double the resolution of the current model, but that’s been rumored for some time now. He attributed the February release date to “several sources,” but it’s unclear just how reliable those sources are.

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