Panasonic's 4K Windows 8 tablet will make your jaw drop
LAS VEGAS—File this under the things that will make you go, "Wow." Tucked away in a busy corridor in Panasonic's CES booth, away from all the noise about shiny ultra-high-definition HDTVs, there's a colossal Windows 8 tablet that packs mammoth resolution.
The queues to see it are long for a reason: Its unusual specs stand out amidst the noise of laptops and tablets. While details are scarce about this concept demo, Panasonic says to expect it to come out later in 2013. This tablet will target specific audiences, just like the company's other three tablets in the ToughPad series.
4K all the way
Billed as the world's first 20-inch tablet with 4K resolution, this tablet looks like no other at first glance. It packs a gorgeous 3820 by 2560 pixel IPS display; the screen appeared to have optical bonding, with no air gap behind its glass (though Panasonic couldn't confirm this). The unusual display has a 15:10 aspect ratio, and carries 230 pixels per inch—not as much as the Apple iPad does, at 264 ppi, but more than the 216 ppi you'll find on a 1280 by 800 pixel 7-inch tablet such as the Google Nexus 7.
The demo tablet on display was running Windows 8 Pro, and powered by a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 3427U vPro processor, with 4GB of RAM (expandable to 16GB), as well as discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics and a 128GB SSD. It measures an impressive 18.7 by 13.1 by 0.4 inches, which makes it narrower than many current Windows and Android tablets that still stand at half-an-inch tall. At 5.3 pounds, and given its physical size, clearly this won't be a tablet you carry casually everywhere you go. However, it is surprisingly portable, and could clearly have applications for creative professionals.
One nifty inclusion: Support for a light pen from Anoto, so you can write on the display. The pen's optical sensor reads the pixels and senses the xy axis to identify where the pen is located. The tablet has one USB 2.0 port, which would hopefully get bumped up to USB 3.0 whenever this comes to market; the target audience of creative pros such as photographers, videographers, and architects, will need the speed.
"We're working in finding the right customer set and application [for the tablet]," says Kyp Walls, Panasonic's director of product management. "The 4k tablet is a tech demonstration right now. We expect to find those markets and commercialize later this year."