Samsung – who unseated Apple in the smartphone category in our 2013 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index – is now taking on Apple in the tablet category.

Samsung made an announcement in Barcelona on Sunday, before the start of the Mobile World Congress, that their new Galaxy Note 8.0 will have an 8-inch screen, just a skoosh larger than the iPad’s 7.87-inch Mini. And it’s going to have a pen for writing on the screen, which turns out is an important factor in engaging new customers.

And we suspect that you’re thinking you have your finger, so why do you need a pen? But here’s the thing. This year’s survey found if you wanted to establish real emotional engagement and, thus loyalty, and thus profitability in, well, virtually every category, you actually need something with which to engage consumers emotionally. Snappy and/or funny commercials aren’t going to do it alone, and Samsung’s success has to do a lot with leveraging the emotional aspect regarding personalization.

And what’s more personal than your very own handwriting? Holding the pen in your hand and writing something. OK, it could more accurately be described as a “stylus,” but you can write and draw and highlight with it, so pretty much a pen.  No sorry, not the same thing as poking your finger(s) at a virtual keyboard, no matter how fingerprint-resistant the screen, and no matter how many times the specifications call it “interfacing with the device.”

By the way, size matters, at least a size-range. Amazon’s Kindle was rated #1 in the category this year and it had to do not only with aspects regarding personalization, but the range of sizes available, which is also, as it happens, an aspect of personal choice. We are fans of Apple. Don’t get us wrong. But we would remind you that they didn’t come out with a mini-version until after Amazon came out with theirs. The iPad was great technology if you wanted to carry it under your arm or in a briefcase, but it didn’t fit into a jacket pocket or a pocketbook, and to that end, the new Samsung entry nicely fits with their 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II smartphone and their Galaxy Note 10.1.

Will this be another success for Samsung? We’ll have to wait till the April introduction to see. But one thing’s certain, when it comes to brands creating real emotional engagement, the handwriting’s on the wall. Big, clear, and bold.