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First 4K tablets to launch this year, Qualcomm predicts

The first consumer available 4K display tablets will hit retailers over the coming months, leading component supplier Qualcomm has predicted.

While 4K video capture is now a common feature on both leading tablets and smartphones, consumer available devices with 4K panels are yet to make it to market.

That is set to change, however, with Qualcomm suggesting 4K tablets will be readily available before the end of the year.

“The first thing you are going to see [with 4K displays] is tablets,” Tim McDonough, Qualcomm’s Vice President of Marketing said speaking with TrustedReviews.

He added: “I think there is a good likelihood you will start seeing 4K display tablets in 2015.

The Qualcomm head’s confidence is wisely based, too.

“The test and demo units we have are 4K tablets so someone is making 4K screens and they probably want to sell it to more people than Qualcomm, so I think the chances are pretty good,” he told us.

He added: “The tablet market will be moving towards 4K for a number of reasons.

“One is that higher resolution for native 4K content display works on a larger workspace. You can do more things and it lets UIs work in a different way.

“There is also getting the content off the device, and that’s things like 802.11ad to be able to stream the content directly from the handset where you captured it to the TV where you really want to watch it.”

Related: iPad Air 2 review

Although 4K panels are coveted by many, the inevitable costs associated with the tech is sure to deter others. Panasonic’s 20-inch business tablet, the ToughPad 4K, costs more than £4,000/$5,000.

According to McDonough, it is precisely this, and not power consumption issues that means 4K panels will hit tablets, but not smartphones, anytime soon.

“We still have to figure out the form factor where there is a true user benefit [for 4K],” he said.

“From a power perspective, we output content to a 4K display at the same power profile as 1080p. The key isn’t really power, it’s what’s the benefit you’re getting for the cost of it.

“When you get to a tablet its more obvious. When you get to a 50-inch flat screen on your wall it’s super obvious.

“I think it is more around does the benefit match the cost, that’s why we see the move to 4K screens moving much more quickly on tablets. Phones are probably more in the future.”

Would you buy a 4K tablet or are you happy with your current Full HD or 2K panel? Leave us a comment below.

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