You can't shake a stick at the Consumer Electronics Show without hitting some OEM's new tablet PC. Panasonic is joining the fray too, but its new Android powered Viera Tablet is more of a remote control than a tablet device.
In a press conference Wednesday at CES, Shiro Kitajima, president of the Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company described the Viera Tablet as a "smart terminal" with a touch interface that works in conjunction with the company's Viera line of flat panel televisions.
The Viera Tablet provides access to a variety of cloud services, including video streaming and e-books, and also acts as an auxiliary screen for displaying images and information related to what's being shown on the television screen. This would no doubt appeal to sports fans who'd like to check out a different angle of a particular play, for example.
Kitajima gave the audience a teasing 10-second glimpse of the Viera Tablet and said it'll be available worldwide at some undefined point "later this year," with screen sizes ranging from 4 inches to 10 inches. Panasonic unveiled Viera Tablet in Japan late Wednesday Pacific time.
The Viera Tablet is also integrated with Viera Connect, a new IPTV service that lets customers personalize their television with a range of video on demand, gaming, social networking and fitness applications. It also lets you access Youtube, Netflix, live streaming services, as well as gaming, social networking and fitness programs.
Kitajima suggested that Panasonic might open Viera Connect to developers and connected device manufacturers at some point in the future.
"Television used to be passive but it is now evolving into a more engaged and interactive experience," Kitajima said at the event. "Viewers are going to become much more engaged participants."