Panasonic was just one of the many manufacturers to add its name to the list of companies launching tablet devices at CES, with the unveiling of its Viera-branded device.
Due to land by the end of the year, the LCD touchscreen device (currently Japan-only) comes in three sizes - 10-inches (pictured), as well as a 7-inch version and a 4-inch device that doesn't look too dissimilar to a smartphone. Despite all three products running on Android 2.2, there's no access to Android Market but you can get onto Panasonic's own Viera Market. As the tablets are designed to work with a variety of cloud services in conjunction with the maker's Viera televisions and its new Viera Connect smart TV service, we can't shake the feeling that the gadget is more of a glorified remote control (albeit a very fancy one) rather than a standalone tablet.
Most of the tablets on display weren't hooked up to TVs, so we were unable to test out all of the functions, but as pure tablets they were okay. The touchscreens were relatively responsive, although not the best we've seen and the resolution certainly wasn't particularly high, with many of the graphics appearing decidedly pixellated. The products also felt pretty hefty to hold. The screens seemed to be covered in fingerprints - not unusual for a touchscreen device, but Panasonic's display seemed to fare less well in this respect than many other products that we've seen (we noticed lots of cleaning cloths tucked away behind the tablet display on Panasonic's CES stand).
Specs are still very thin on the ground and as the tablets aren't due until later on in the year, it's very likely that they will benefit from a series of design tweaks before they reach us. Let's hope so.
Catch up with all the latest gadget news from the show at our dedicated CES page.