Fuhu’s new line of enormous 4K tablets is what happens when a tablet whispers “I want to be big”—and its wish is granted.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Fuhu is showing off a new line of BigTab tablets that begin at a large 20-inch form factor and quickly climb into something that almost looks like a small pool table: 65 inches.
And with HDMI-enabled 4K technology behind the largest 55-inch and 65-inch model, that means Fuhu is effectively selling a touch-enabled HDTV that can double as an electronic play table or even a second monitor for the office. But you’ll pay for it, of course: the 20-inch model is priced at $399, and the prices climb to $2,499 for a 55-inch screen and a whopping $4,000 for the 65-inch model.
In its suite here, Fuhu mounted the display on the wall, like a television, but also embedded it inside a wooden table, as well as a poker table. Fuhu senior vice-president Lisa Lee said the company plans to sell furniture designed around the larger tablets, so they can serve as electronic play spaces.
The concept of tabletop gaming on a large touchscreen monitor isn’t new; Microsoft’s original Surface concept did this, and Lenovo launched its own next-gen Horizon tabletop tablet shortly before CES. But neither appears to be as fun as the BigTab.
Each Fuhu tablet contains 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of built-in storage. But there’s another secret they hold: Fuhu plans to ship the largest 55-inch and 65-inch tablets using the new next-generation Nvidia Tegra X1, which Nvidia promised will put its “Maxwell” PC GPU technology into the tablet space. (Smaller models pack Nvidia’s Tegra 4 chips instead.) They also contain WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC, along with a small 2-megapixel camera for videoconferencing.
To be honest, Fuhu needs a bit of tweaking to get these tablets ready for prime time. When we tried to shoot footage of these for the video above, we had to come back because a unit failed. (Fuju tells us that they use some customized drivers that apparently aren’t fully completed.) Some apps simply crashed the tablet. And while touching the screen worked pretty well, the tablet seemed to have trouble recording swipes. We didn’t have a chance to run any 4K test videos, however.
Fuhu is becoming more well-known for its lineup of kid-oriented tablets, all of which feature a dedicated, locked-down virtual playspace for young children. Fuhu has partnered with brands like Nick Jr.and Disney to develop branded versions of the tablets featuring their respective characters and TV shows, but also plans to develop their own animated series, along with Skylanders-like collectibles, for young girls.
Each Fuhu tablet, however, also features a “parent mode” that essentially unlocks its capabilities as a standard Android tablet. Here, the parent can set time limits or apply virtual Fuhu credits to allow the child to buy virtual goodies—or, after the kids have gone to bed, watch Netflix and play games on these new BigTabs.
And you know, laying the re-released touch-based version of the original Baldur’s Gate series on a 65-inch tablet like these sounds like an awful lot of fun.
Why this matters: With television prices continuing to plunge, shelling out roughly a dollar per pixel for a high-end touch display seems ludicrous. But there will always be those prefer to pay out the nose for luxury hardware, and Fuhu has impressed me with their attention to detail, especially where the hardware is concerned. (As noted above, the 65-inch BigTab chose that moment to die when we wanted to shoot a video.) I’m not sure I’d want to risk my friends spilling soda or beer on a $4,000 tablet, but boy, would they be impressed.
Updated at 9:04 AM on Jan. 8 with more hands-on details.