There are game changers, there are disruptive technologies, and then there's Panasonic's KX-UT870, an industrial-grade corded desk phone announced recently that's being shown off here at CES 2012. The concept, while simple, is a bit baffling: it's an IP phone grafted to a 7-inch resistive Android 2.2 tablet of the lowest possible quality (imagine one of those off-brand units you'd find at a drug store). That's it. All control (dialing and so on) goes through the touchscreen, which seems reasonably sensitive considering that it's resistive — but that doesn't really excuse the fact that it's resistive when virtually every price category of smartphone has now migrated to capacitive. The KX-UT870, at $499, is decidedly not an entry-level device.
What exactly can you do with a 7-inch screen on your telephone? Panasonic is showing off a couple demos — a security camera monitor, and a Lutron Home Control installation connected to a floor lamp and window blind for an oddly anachronistic example of home automation. It runs a near-stock implementation of Android 2.2 (without Google apps or the Android Market), so most existing apps should work. But with all the quirks of a $79 resistive craptablet, the KX-UT870 isn't going to do anything well.