Panasonic talks 4K OLED TV, car tech, tablets and green tech


Panasonic chief Kazuhiro Tsuga (L) and Panasonic North America CEO Joe Taylor introduce the company's new 1/2 inch thick 4K OLED 56" television during the Panasonic opening day keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 8, 2013. (RICK WILKING/REUTERS)
January 8, 2013

Panasonic took the stage for its keynote Tuesday at the International CES tech show in Las Vegas. The company introduced a 20-inch “4K” or ultra high-definition tablet — complete with stylus — as part of its main announcements. That builds on the screen trend building at CES this year, where companies are competing to put better, crisper screens in front of consumers.

The company didn’t announce any details on the tablet’s availability or pricing in its Tuesday talk, but did show it off as a tool ideal for business users such as architects, who may want to annotate documents or edit photos to beam back to a central office location.

Panasonic also introduced a television with facial recognition technology at its preview event Monday — the device will be able to identify who’s watching a television and display customized content. Several privacy groups have raised concerns about the expanding amount of facial recognition technology in consumer devices, prompting the FTC to release best practices about the technology this past fall.

The crown jewel of the product announcements, however, was a 56-inch OLED television with an ultra high-definition 4K display. The firm was also tight-lipped about when this enormous television would hit the market and what it will cost when it does. But the picture quality, at least on stage, looked stunning, and its profile is unbelievably thin — just half an inch thick.

Actually, Sony beat Panasonic to the punch by introducing a 56-inch 4K OLED television of its own Monday night, though it also didn’t reveal pricing or availability information. That’s typical of the show, which is great for showcasing what companies are planning but not quite as good a forecast for what folks will be buying in the coming year.

Other topics Panasonic highlighted in its keynote included a focus on how the company is making a commitment to green technology through its production of solar panels and efficient batteries for devices and cars. The company also talked about a partnership with General Motors that lets the automaker put a flexible app ecosystem into its vehicles.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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