Samsung 4K tablet prototype spotted, unlikely to see the real world

A Samsung 12-inch tablet sporting a 4K display has been used as a demonstration device at a Qualcomm event at the French Open in Paris.

Used to showcase LTE broadcast at the event, the device was spotted and photographed by TechRadar, who then report that it was only receiving a 720p stream at the time.

The device appears to have all the normal Samsung design features, most noticeably that physical home button at the bottom of the display, flanked by other controls.

The display is reported to be "12-inch UltraHD", with Qualcomm demonstrating some multi-window action - something we'd expect a 4K tablet to be particularly useful for.

TechRadar reports that the prototype tablet runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset - as found in most recent flagship Android phones.

Qualcomm has been perfectly open about its 4K ambitions, recently detailing the capabilities of its Snapdragon 805 chipset, of which it said: "The Snapdragon 805 is the first end-to-end full 4K mobile experience."

READ: Qualcomm: "Snapdragon 805 is the first end-to-end full 4K mobile experience"

One of the key components of the 805 chipset is a dedicated hardware block for decoding HEVC, the standard being adopted for 4K streaming, enabling Netflix to stream in 4K to the latest TVs, for example.

We're not reading too much into the appearance of this Samsung 4K tablet - tech companies need this hardware to test future developments. As a prototype it's unlikely to see consumer release, but Qualcomm has said previously there will be 4K devices available by the end of 2014.

Whether that will see a Samsung 4K tablet released at the Samsung Galaxy Premiere event on 12 June in New York, we're not so certain.