This Shit Sucks: The Viera Connect Tablet

We love Panasonic. Their TVs are terrific—the best, even. Which is why I was pretty intrigued by their companion Viera tablet. It could have made watching TV more fun, or easier, or something. But it's unnecessary. And awful.

It's hard to even ascertain how it's supposed to work, it works so poorly. It's a weird, confused device. It's meant to be a great TV pal—alternate angles while watching football! Streaming the Netflix movie you're watching when you leave the room!—but it's just sort of a bad tablet that has some TV apps. It also has an eBook app, for no reason at all.

It runs Android 2.2. Poorly. Very poorly. I had a hard time getting literally anything to open without it either crashing or running with all the responsiveness of a tranquilized horse. It seemed like it was running in slow motion. And not the good, Baywatch kind, but twitchy, choppy slow motion. It was devoid of effort.

This Shit Sucks: The Viera Connect Tablet

The two apps I actually managed to get running—the aforementioned pointless eBook reader and a multi-window sports browser—were running in only the most technical sense. I tried selecting a game—the idea being that you can flick it "up" from your Viera tablet to your TV and watch it on the big screen. It worked once. Neat, sort of, although mostly a visual trick more than an easy way to watch sports. But when I tried it again, it froze and then crashed.

I wasn't even sure I was using it correctly at first—none of my taps were working. Was I supposed to drag my finger across the screen to select apps? My brain started to panic as nothing I touched corresponded to anything that was happening. And then it just died. A black screen from which I couldn't return. Kaput. Embarrassing at CES, extremely frustrating if this is an expensive thing you've purchased to use in your living room. I feel bad for Japan, which is getting the tablet first. But even if it's polished to the point of mere usability, it's still basically not that useful. I don't need this thing. Nobody does. Again—we love Panasonic, and the sets they're showing for this year look very nice—but the tablet is a dud. A tablet for the sake of tablet-ness. It's an unnecessary piece of hardware that could've been replaced with a smartphone app and some effort. Don't expect us to buy things we don't need.