You know what's wrong with most TVs? The fact that you can't draw on them, right? Well as we learned this morning, Panasonic has developed its own solution to the problem with the newly announced Touch Pen and we managed to get hand(s) on. The wireless pen allows you to draw directly onto compatible Panasonic TVs, annotate, draw, whatever takes your fancy, and then share these images via a range of different connectivity options (via a paired tablet and Panasonic's Viera Remote 2.0 app, or save to USB etc). Panasonic was keen to point out that, unlike existing solutions, the Touch Pen doesn't need any extra hardware, just the TV and the device itself. The actual hardware part is somewhat large, but not cumbersome, and it's pretty clear that this was designed to be comfortable for most hands, yet durable, particularly suitable for children. This comes as no surprise considering that the pen is also effectively a HID device, doubling as a stylus for input and game control. While we were at the booth we loaded up a simple game, and used the pen to control the penguins on the ice, much like flicking angry birds on a phone.
In actual use, if you are watching something and you have a sudden burst of inspiration, all you need to do is hold the pen to the screen, and after a short wait the TV grabs a shot of the screen, much like taking a screenshot on a smartphone. With the picture snagged, a simple art interface comes up, with options for colors, pen types, undo, save and so on. We spent a few moments amusing ourselves by adding comedy facial accoutrements to the onscreen protagonist. We can definitely see that this would be a fun novelty for home use, of particular interest to kids. There is also potential for some simple business use too. Whichever case use appeals most to you, over all it's just another input option, and if you're like us, that's always a welcome addition. Once again, Panasonic were tight-lipped on when we might see this, and for how much, but don't be surprised if you see this pop back up some time around summer.
Sean Cooper and Steve Dent contributed to this report.